Airlines are preparing to deliver coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) vaccines to the country.
Philippine Airlines, re-trained 800 personnel nationwide for COVID-19 vaccine handling. PAL used to carry the flu and polio vaccines.
PAL also timed the whole process of loading vaccines into the plane. Unloading of vaccines should take only 10 minutes while document processing and X-rays should take only 20 minutes.
If you have to wait while the other cargo is loading, it will take 30 minutes.
“Kailangan mabilis kasi maraming screening pa ‘yan, may documentation as ‘yung vaccine some of them have dry ice. Dry ice kasi is considered dangerous goods, and we need the details, specific details of the dry ice,” said PAL Cargo Business Vice President Jason Siy.
According to Pfizer, their vaccine is transported in temperature-controlled packaging with dry ice to keep its temperature at -70 degrees Celsius.
It lasts up to 10 days if not opened, and dry ice can be replaced for it to last another month. But in the event of a serious flight malfunction, PAL‘s 9 cold storage facilities are also on standby.
Apart from domestic distribution, the airline is also ready in case they are needed to get the vaccine abroad.
Airlines preparing for COVID-19 vaccines delivery
“Mas maganda kasi pag direct if you use other carriers definitely may stopover ‘yun. We have big aircrafts. ‘Pag sobrang dami we can pick it up from international, distribute it to local destinations,” said Siy.
Other airlines such as Air Asia Philippines and Cebu Pacific have also expressed readiness to assist the government.
Air Asia is already obtaining a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to travel with the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Kami po ay handang lumipad dito sa mga airports as long as accepted po ang 320 airbus aircrafts po ng Air Asia. Siguradong maihahatid po namin ang vaccines in the best high standard of transport,” said Air Asia Chief Executive Officer Ricky Isla.
Cebu Pacific also assured that they are ready to help especially since they already have experience in transporting vaccines and they already have a permit.