Air France KLM Martinair Cargo ready to distribute COVID-19 vaccines


Air France KLM Martinair Cargo have been making every effort to keep vital supply chains in place amidst the pandemic. Approximately 6,000 cargo-only flights have been carried out in recent months. Air France KLM Martinair Cargo is currently operating services to more than 100 long-haul destinations.

The next logistical challenge will be the global distribution of the Covid-19 vacciness. Earlier this week, the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, together with German partner BioNTech, announced great success in the first interim analysis from the Phase III study of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

This will be an unprecedented logistical challenge for the industry, due to the volume of cargo and the temperature and time sensitive nature of the shipments. Initial expectations are that around 15 billion vaccines will need to be distributed worldwide. Logistical solutions will be essential to maintain quality throughout the vaccine distribution chain.

“Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has years of experience with temperature-controlled transportation of pharmaceuticals and was the first airline group to be CEIV certified by IATA,” explains GertJan Roelands. senior vice president sales & distribution Air France KLM Martinair Cargo. “The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines poses specific challenges in terms of volume, transportation requirements and security. In order to be fully prepared for this we started a COVID-19 Vaccine taskforce four months ago. This taskforce represents all the relevant Air France KLM Martinair Cargo departments. Our teams have been working on an extensive action plan. For example, at our Schiphol Pharma Hub, we opened up a 1,118 m3 Climate Controlled storage facility a few months ago and we are building an additional 2,061 m3 additional Cool Room. At our Charles de Gaulle Pharma Hub, a new Climate Controlled storage area is about to be finished. We also introduced Hybrid and Advanced Passive Solutions that will be used to transport the vaccines, on top of existing full range of Active Containers. Along with many other initiatives, extra monitoring and intervention management have also been implemented.”

Adriaan den Heijer, executive vice president Air France-KLM Cargo added: “We believe that cooperation and building communities around the upcoming global vaccines distribution are essential. We’ve established partnerships with many of the parties in the logistical chain, including forwarders, trucking companies, container providers, airports, cargo/logistical associates, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare-related institutes and authorities. We believe that strong cooperation between partners will be essential to successfully executing this logistical challenge.

“In recent weeks, we successfully shipped the first COVID-19 vaccines. Air France KLM Martinair Cargo is ready for this logistical challenge, ready to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the Netherlands, to France and to many other countries around the globe.”