Cathay Pacific Airways made this announcement:
Cathay Pacific Cargo has built on its many years of experience in transporting pharmaceutical shipments to develop a vaccine solution specifically for the fast and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe.
Cathay Pacific Director Cargo Tom Owen said: “With our 20 dedicated freighters and cargo bellies of passenger aircraft supporting our extensive freighter network, we stand ready to assist with what will be the biggest humanitarian response to a situation involving civil aviation that anyone has ever seen.”
Cathay Pacific Cargo is progressively rolling out Ultra Track as a key part of the vaccine solution. The next-generation track-and-trace system monitors information including temperature, GPS location, and humidity, using low-energy Bluetooth readers. This gives shippers and forwarders near real time visibility, and ensures vaccines will remain within their transportation temperature ranges.
In addition, shipments using Ultra Track will also be monitored by the newly established Operations Control Centre. Based in Hong Kong, and staffed by dedicated cargo professionals 24/7, the team can instruct ramp and cargo terminal staff to take proactive steps to ensure the various storage requirements of vaccines are maintained.
Owen said: “Ultra Track will allow forwarders to monitor the condition of their vaccine shipments in near real time. It will be progressively rolled out through the first quarter of this year, and we will be offering the service free of charge for any COVID-19 vaccine shipments.”
The combined approach follows on from an airport-wide recertification of IATA’s CEIV Pharma accreditation (the internationally recognized quality-assurance scheme for pharmaceutical shipments) at Hong Kong International Airport. Cathay Pacific Cargo, the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal managed by Cathay Pacific Services Limited (CPSL) and ground-handling subsidiary Hong Kong Airport Services (HAS) have all been re-certified, offering a complete level of quality assurance at every stage of the import and tran-shipment journey.
Airport Authority Hong Kong General Manager Aviation Logistics Alaina Shum said: “Hong Kong International Airport advocates and supports the airport community in its CEIV Pharma recertification, which helps to cement its status as the world’s leading and busiest cargo airport.”
The Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal is being expanded to offer more temperature controlled capacity. While it is currently able to temporarily hold and transit 6.6 million doses of vaccine a day, there is more to come. Cathay Pacific Cargo’s Owen says: “We have just expanded so that it can handle more than seven million doses, and there will be more cold storage coming online soon. This new cold room storage will be able to handle a further 1.6 million doses.”
“With the vaccine being so valuable and in such limited supply, it’s critical that we get it right at every stage of the journey. We are confident about meeting the challenge, and we stand ready to play our part.”
To read more about Cathay Pacific Cargo’s vaccine-handling capabilities, please click here.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathay Pacific Cargo has been operating a full freighter schedule using its fleet of 14 Boeing 747-8F freighters and six 747-400ERFs (Extended Range Freighter). It has also operated thousands of pairs of cargo-only passenger flights, some with cargo loaded in the passenger cabins, and chartered hundreds of pairs of flights from its all-cargo subsidiary Air Hong Kong to add additional air freight capacity.