MIAMI – The first flights carrying coronavirus vaccines have now taken place at Brussels Airport (BRU), according to Brucargo, BRU’s cargo wing. These are test flights or flights to position the vaccine doses in preparation when they are accepted for use.

“The entire logistics chain is preparing worldwide,” said Nathan De Valck, the airport’s head of freight. According to De Valck, in what the International Air Travel Association (IATA) has called “The Mission of the Century,” some 30 to 50% of coronavirus vaccines will be delivered by aircraft.

“This will be the largest and most complex logistical exercise ever,” said IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac as quoted by the Brussel Times; “the world is counting on us.” On his part, Air Cargo Belgium’s president David Bellon calls the the task “the biggest product launch ever.”

Zaventem Brussels Airport. photo: Wiki Commons

The Start of the Vaccine Rollout

“In order to remove all stumbling blocks,” says Bellon, a great deal of preparation is needed so that transport is not slowed down anywhere along the way. BRU has the expertise and has 30,000 square meters of cooling space only for pharmaceutical products.

However, according to Bellon, “these corona vaccines have two additional peculiarities. In the short term, explains Bellon, “we need to be able to deal with high volumes and each vaccine has its own unique characteristics; for example, when it comes to the temperature at which the vaccines need to be stored.”

According to De Valck, up to a quarter of the freight personnel at BRU will be involved in transporting the vaccine sooner or later as the world awaits for them, hopefully during Christmas and throughout 2021.

Featured image: Brussels Airport Runway 25 R. Photo: Wiki Commons