Korean Air ships materials for coronavirus vaccines
Korean Air Lines transported frozen materials for coronavirus vaccines to the Netherlands on Tuesday, the first such operation by a domestic airline.
Some 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) of raw materials for coronavirus vaccines were flown from Incheon to Amsterdam on flight KE925 Tuesday, destined for a vaccine factory in Europe. The type and supplier of the raw materials were not revealed to the press.
Korean Air Lines said it transported them at minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit). The aircraft was not equipped with a special cold chain system. Instead, it carried 208 kilograms of dry ice to maintain the frigid temperature.
The airline added it isn’t likely to build special low temperature systems because dry ice does the trick.
In June 2019, Korean Air Lines earned a CEIV Pharma certification saying its facilities, equipment and operations comply with applicable standards, regulations and guidelines expected by pharmaceutical manufacturers. It was issued by the International Air Transport Association.
The airline formed a task force in September dedicated to transporting vaccines.
The amount of dry ice that can be loaded on an aircraft varies by aircraft type. After discussions with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Korean Air Lines was allowed to carry more dry ice on the Tuesday flight than airlines are usually allowed to carry. More dry ice means more vaccine materials can be transported.
Asiana Airlines, which is in the process of being acquired by Korean Air Lines, does not yet have specific plans or orders to transport vaccines or related materials.
But it said it also formed a task force to study vaccine transport and made 12 cargo aircraft available to transport them.
Asiana also earned the CEIV Pharma certificate in June 2019.
To facilitate vaccine transport, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Tuesday announced it would allow more vaccines to be transported per flight.
On Tuesday, the Korean government said it signed deals to provide coronavirus vaccines to 44 million people, or 85 percent of the population, next year from several drug companies.
BY JIN MIN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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