Indian carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday said it was preparing to provide logistical support for Covid-19 vaccination with its dedicated freighter division, SpiceXpress, reported PTI. The airline’s cargo arm is equipped to transport extremely sensitive vaccines that require controlled temperatures between -40 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius.
“Since the lockdown began, SpiceJet and its cargo arm, SpiceXpress, have worked relentlessly to ensure the transport of vital goods and medical supplies to all corners of India and the world,” said SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh. “We have been preparing for the humongous task of transporting medicines, vaccines, blood samples and temperature-sensitive cargo by developing end-to-end cold chain logistics solutions.”
SpiceXpress, with a fleet of 17 cargo aircraft, is capable of transportation in domestic and international routes. The airline has ferried 85,000 tonnes of cargo since the coronavirus-induced lockdown in March. SpiceJet’s international cargo network now includes more than 50 international destinations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, among other countries.
The Indian airline also has a network of warehouses equipped with deep freezers for change of cool packs and ground vehicles and containers to help in transporting sensitive cargo, the company said. The statement also noted that the airline has collaborated with global leaders in cold chain solutions “offering active and passive packaging with dedicated equipment to perform seamless cold chain operations”.
“SpiceXpress is ready for the enormous task of distributing sensitive goods both domestically and internationally including Covid-19 vaccines that require stringent transportation conditions,” said Singh.
India’s coronavirus cases rose by 36,603 on Wednesday, making it the 25th straight day when daily infections have stayed below the 50,000-mark. The country now has total 94,99,413 cases, while as many as 89,32,647 people have recovered so far. The toll rose by 501 to 1,38,122.
The country has not signed a deal for a coronavirus vaccine yet so it is unclear when it will be available for use in the country. Availability of the vaccine in India will be subject to approval by domestic regulators, and the Indian government agreeing to purchase them. So far, many other nations including the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia and Israel have made deals to buy millions of doses of the vaccines.