With Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that a Covid vaccine could be ready within weeks, Delhi and Hyderabad airports’ air cargo services are all set to play a pivotal role in its distribution through state-of-the-art time and temperature-sensitive distribution systems.
As per the Delhi airport, it has two cargo terminals with world-class infrastructure that provides a GDP (Good Distribution Practice)-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo.
With the capacity to handle over 1.5 lakh metric tonne cargo per annum, the Delhi airport facility has state-of-the-art temperature-controlled zones with separate cool chambers ranging from -20 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius, which would be extremely conducive for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines.
Delhi airport authorities said that besides the cool chamber, it also has “cool dollies” at the airside that ensure an unbroken cool chain during temperature-sensitive cargo movement between terminal and aircraft.
“The terminals have separate gates dedicated for fast movement of vehicles carrying vaccines in and out of the airport. In line with the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s vision to create metro airports as transshipment hubs, the Delhi airport has set up a dedicated Transshipment Excellence Centre spread over an area of 6,500 square m at the airside that will help in the fast movement of vaccines through transshipment,” a Delhi airport spokesperson stated.
The Delhi airport’s QR code-based e-Gate Pass facility will provide an automated process for paper documentation and reduce human interface, thereby making the fast movement of imported vaccine deliveries.
Notably, in the recent past, the Delhi airport had acted as a hub to distribute millions of PPE kits across the country.
Meanwhile, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC), located at the centre of one of the vaccine production regions in the country, is also a key stakeholder in the global vaccine logistics with facilities such as modern temperature-sensitive pharma and vaccine storage and processing zones.
“GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo boasts of India’s first Pharma Zone with GDP-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo. The terminal is equipped with various temperature zones from -20 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius and with state-of-the-art equipment and cool containers to cater to product-specific requirements,” said a Hyderabad airport spokesperson.
The spokesperson stated that the freighter parking stands are just 50 m away from the terminal, thereby minimising the ramp exposure timing and ensuring a quick turn around of the aircraft.
The airport also recently launched the latest cool dollies to eliminate any temperature excursions and to maintain the unbroken cool chain.
The GHAC also boasts of one of India’s largest storage facility for cool containers like envirotainer, c-safe, unicooler, and vaqtainer within its premises to make sure the service is available for customers 24×7.
The GHAC has also taken several paperless initiatives like e-reception, e-OOC, e-LEO, e-AWB among others to minimise human interface.
During the Covid, the GHAC operated 24×7 to provide unhindered air cargo service delivering medical supplies, and perishables to the frontline warriors.