Qatar Airways, Etihad Cargo to compete for COVID-19 vaccine?

Wikimedia Commons, Pieter van Marion

Middle East cargo airlines are about to fight in a battle for COVID-19 vaccine delivery in the near future. On the same day of September 28, 2020, Etihad Cargo as well as Qatar Airways Cargo both announced launching new products and signing agreements related to the coming COVID-19 vaccine delivery flood.

Etihad Cargo has launched a pharma and healthcare product service PharmaLife for handling pharmaceuticals and life-science deliveries. In order to be able to carry temperature-sensitive issues, the airline is ready to use hybrid containers with provided specific temperature conditions ensuring equipment.

Andre Blech, the Head of Operations and Service delivery at Etihad Cargo, announced that the carrier’s aim was to meet all special requirements for the delivery of large quantities of demanded product in a very short time. The carrier is preparing in advance for the future launch of the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide.

“To avoid last minute pressure once a vaccine is approved, we have established a dedicated COVID-19 vaccines workforce composed of a Steering Committee and a Working Group to manage all anticipated element,“ Blech said in the press release.

According to Blech, PharmaLife offered shipment solutions would be available at 54 locations on Etihad network globally, including Abu Dhabi, Chicago, Barcelona, Dubai, Hyderabad, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Mumbai, Melbourne, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. Moreover, Etihad Cargo is the first Middle Eastern airline that keeps the CEIV Pharma certification from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which the company received in December 2019.

Meanwhile in Qatar, Qatar Airways Cargo and SkyCell, the company that designs containers that are used to transport pharmaceuticals, signed a cooperation contract. Under the agreement, Qatar Airways Cargo will expand its variety of transportation solutions and will be able to offer additional pharmaceuticals and healthcare cargo services.

Using a wide range of SkyCell produced temperature-controlled hybrid containers, Qatar Airways Cargo expects to offer pharmaceutical transportation services for customers over 77 destinations.

The airline’s investment in hybrid containers is a part of Qatar Airways Cargo strategy in preparation to support the logistics process globally when the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for transportation.


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