Delivering Covid-19 Vaccines Will Be a Challenge for Cargo Airlines

Companies may be racing to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine, but delivering the vaccine when it is ready is expected to be problematic for cargo airlines, according to The Wall Street Journal. The inoculations will require thousands of extra flights for the airlines, which are already being stretched to the limit.

“If 50 million doses were available today, could we distribute them?” Glyn Hughes, head of cargo at the trade group, International Air Transport Association, said. “The answer is almost certainly, ‘no,’ for every jurisdiction.”

Even when the vaccines are ready, it might actually take years before they can be distributed around the world, according to Business Insider. Experts estimate it could take up to two years for them to reach every country worldwide.

The cargo industry is planning to ship up to 20 billion doses of the vaccine. It also doesn’t help that airlines are already facing challenges since many airlines are now cutting flight routes as a result of the pandemic. There has also been an increase in the demand for shipping with a surge in online orders. Holiday shopping orders will fill up cargo flights for the next few months as well.

Another hurdle is that the vaccines are expected to have stringent storage requirements, with some potentially needing to be refrigerated or frozen as low as -70 degrees Celsius.