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World needs 8,000 jets to deliver vaccines - IATA

World needs 8,000 jets to deliver vaccines - IATA

Mubasher: A total of 8,000 747 cargo aircraft are needed to transport the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines to 7.8 billion people across the world, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned in a recent press release.

The IATA has urged governments to set a distribution plan with industry stakeholders to be fully prepared when the COVID-19 vaccines are approved, especially that the vaccines should be transported at controlled temperatures and without delay to ensure the quality of the product.

The air cargo is essential in delivering vaccines quickly and efficiently across the world for being equipped with temperature-sensitive distribution systems.

Hence, the IATA has warned of potentially severe capacity constraints in transporting vaccines by air.

The association referred that land transport could help in the vaccine distribution, namely in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity; however, vaccines cannot be transported globally without the use of air cargo.

The IATA has also requested governments to consider the challenges facing the aviation industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including a plunge in passenger flights.

The significant decrease in passenger traffic has pushed airlines to downsize their networks and put many aircraft into remote long-term storage.

 IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said: "Even if we assume that half the needed vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever."

 Juniac added: "If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised."