Ethiopian Airlines announced today that it has readied 21 cargo freighters that transport COVID-19 vaccine across the world.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ethiopian Cargo Managing Director Fitsum Abadi said a total of 21 cargo freighters, including 777, 787 and converted Air Bus 350, are ready to transport the desperately awaited vaccine.
“We are prepared on the ground with state-of-the-art facilities and on the air with brand new aircrafts,” he added.
The vaccine needs up to -78 degree Celsius storage during transportation, the cargo managing director said, adding that “this is very tough to handle in the entire world; but knowing this in advance we are prepared.”
According to him, one kilogram of vaccine, for example, requires 30 kilograms of dry ice to maintain the temperature of the vaccine.
“Ethiopia Airlines is well ahead of the situation where we have investigated what is required and established what is important on ground in terms of dedicated human resource to handle vaccines, maintain the cold chain from warehouse up to the aircraft. We have also signed agreement with Envirotainer suppliers,” he elaborated.
Fitsum further noted that the airline has been at the forefront of transporting lifesaving medical supplies and PPE and will continue to do so.
Ethiopian was awarded the “Overall Excellence for Outstanding Crisis Leadership 2020 Award” for its leading role in transporting medical supplies and stranded people after COVID-19 struck.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Ethiopian operated over 360 charter cargo flights and carried medical supplies to over 80 countries besides reuniting more than 63,000 citizens of different countries through charter repatriation flights.