Singapore Airlines to conduct test flights for vaccine shipments

The flag carrier has been actively talking to various stakeholders in the supply chain and pharma exporters to get ready for the delivery.

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SIA Cargo loading vaccine shipments Pharmaceutical shipment covered by a thermal blanket to maintain low temperatures being loaded onto SIA’s A350-900 bound for Sydney on 5 December. (Courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

Singapore Airlines (SIA) said on December 5 it would prioritise the shipment of Covid-19 vaccines and will conduct test flights soon to proof the process, The Straits Times reported, citing a company statement and spokesperson comments.

During a media event, SIA senior vice-president of cargo Chin Yau Seng said: “We have been working hard to ensure that we are ready for one of the biggest and most important supply chain challenges of our generation.”

SIA has proposed to conduct test flights to trial vaccine transportation in the near term, similar to what airlines in Belgium and the United States are doing.

“We have been in talks with some of the vaccine manufacturers and they are open to the idea. We are working out the details of the trials, so you can expect that in time,” noted Mr Chin.

Also read: Changi-led taskforce says Singapore is ready for vaccine logistics

The flag carrier will deploy its seven Boeing 747-400 freighter planes to transport vaccines, and passenger aircraft will be on standby to further boost capacity if needed.

The Singaporean airline has also inked agreements with cold chain container providers, such as CSafe, DoKaSch, Envirotainer, Skycell and Va-Q-Tec, to ensure it has sufficient temperature-controlled containers to transport Covid-19 vaccines.

SIA is part of a joint private-public taskforce co-led by CAAS and Changi Airport that will facilitate the vaccine transport in Singapore, considered a key transit hub for the transport of pharmaceuticals from Europe and India into Asia Pacific.

The airline has accredited cold chain stations in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India, recently adding Brisbane and Melbourne to its so-called “quality corridor network.”

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