ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian Airlines has transported the first COVID-19 vaccine shipment from Beijing to N’Djamena via Addis Ababa. Ethiopian operated the flight on Saturday, the airlines announced.
Officials of the airlines, a multi-award-winning and largest airline in Africa, expressed their delight to be part of history.
“We are glad that we have launched the delivery of our mission-critical service with the distribution of the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.
Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services, the cargo unit of Ethiopian Airlines Group, was instrumental in facilitating the flow of medical supplies including PPE across the globe in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ethiopian has already deployed its state-of-the-art cargo terminal, which is the largest in Africa with an annual capacity of around one million tons and compartmentalized temperature-controlled cold storage facilities.
“We will be repeating the remarkable and globally recognized success in leading the fast delivery of PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] few months ago with similar delivery speed, professional handling and maintaining the cool chain during the global vaccine distribution,” Tewolde added.
The airlines’ pharma wing is equipped with different climate chambers ranging between -23OC to 25OC covering an area of 54,000m2, dedicated cool dollies, dedicated pharma team, among others.
The Wing “is best suited for handling pharmaceuticals and all types of medical supplies”, its officials said.
Ethiopian is a major cargo partner of WHO, WFP, donor governments, and philanthropists in facilitating the flow of essential medical supplies owing to the massive cargo facility including Pharma Wing, large and dedicated freighters, and well-trained manpower.