FedEx MD-10 at MIA Photo: © Max Taubman - @maximumaviation
FedEx MD-10 at MIA Photo: © Max Taubman - @maximumaviation

MIAMI – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to direct air traffic controllers to prioritize the operation of flights transporting the now authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

According to an FAA statement provided to FreightWaves, “airlines will provide lists of flights carrying COVID-19 vaccines to the FAA’s Command Center” which will then “alert traffic facilities in the field.”

The statement further adds that the “Command Center will closely track the flights along their routes to ensure they are given priority to the [highest] degree possible.”

Cargo Facility at MIA as viewed from MIA ATC Tower Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation

Frantic Yet Necessary Preparation

Airlines are doing their part in preparation for delivering the vaccine, which while frantic is absolutely necessary, with UPS (5X) Healthcare President Wes Wheeler saying the airline will send the FAA daily lists of landing flights.

Such preparation is set to ensure that “in the event they have difficulties, or back up, landing aircraft in a certain airport, they will know vaccines are coming and they will give priority to those shipments.”

The FAA has also provided guidance to airlines regarding how much dry ice, crucial for safeguarding the vaccine, airlines can carry per flight.

With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) having issued an emergency authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the largest vaccine rollout in history is set to commence with the assistance of the FAA.

Featured image: FedEx MD-10 at MIA Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation