Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is all set to receive, store and transport the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available in India. The airport’s authorities said cargo terminals have been equipped with special temperature controlled areas and dedicated loading areas have been set.
The airport’s two integrated cargo terminals, which have an annual cargo handling capacity of 1.8 million metric tonnes, have been equipped with temperature-controlled chambers that can maintain temperatures from 25 degrees Celsius to -20 degrees Celsius, officials told HT. They said this will help to store the vaccines at the optimum temperature at the airport.
Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of Delhi International Airport Limited, had earlier said that the Delhi Airport is fully prepared and geared up for phase-2 fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate handling and distribution of the vaccine. He said the task of handling such a precious cargo would require human and physical infrastructure for proper transport, storage and delivery to the end-users. “Special drills are being carried out with the focus given to provide training to resources for efficient and safe handling of COVID-19 vaccines. We are instituting processes in association with clearing agencies for express movement of vaccines to and from the airport,” Jaipuriar highlighted. “Provisions are being made for 24/7 operations of the cargo terminals to ensure that the services are available round the clock for uninterrupted supply chain, and efficient operations.”
The airport also has cooled dollies, specifically designed containers with a closed temperature controlled system, for the movement of temperature sensitive vaccines to the special chambers at the terminals for storage as soon as they arrive on the airside. It will also be used to load the vaccines onto an aircraft for further transport to other parts of the country.
The executive pointed out that they are working on customized solutions to handle cargo at other temperature ranges as required. The airport plans to utilize technology intervention to reduce human interface and save time by using India’s first QR code based e-gate pass facility for delivery of cargo. Furthermore, its working with other stakeholders in the supply chain, right from pharma companies, airlines, temperature controlled facilities suppliers, freight forwarders, temperature controlled transport service providers for uninterrupted services to the end users.
Jaipuriar said Delhi Airport has played a critical role in India’s phase-1 war against the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now ready to play a much larger role in phase-2.