Stock Emirates sky cargo
Some heavy numbers... Emirates SkyCargo did its bit and more in getting the meds out to the world. Image Credit: Emirates

Dubai: Emirates SkyCargo, the freight arm of the Dubai-based airline, on Sunday said it moved more than 250 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the last 12 months.

Between October 2020 and September 2021, the operator transported more than 250 million doses of vaccines to 75 destinations through Dubai, it said in a statement.

Stock - Emirates Cargo
Image Credit: Supplied

Emirates has become a key transporter of vaccines over the last few months, given Dubai’s status as major aviation hub. Earlier this year, it became the first airline cargo operator to ship 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

In April 2021, it was reported that one out of every 20 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world had transited through Dubai and had flown on an Emirates aircraft.

More recently, the carrier expanded its cool room infrastructure with 94 airline pallet positions at its EU GDP certified dedicated pharma facility at Dubai International Airport. The extended cool room provides additional capacity in a temperature controlled environment (2-25 degrees Celsius), allowing for the equivalent of between additional 60-90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be stored at any one point of time.

Vaccine alliance

As part of the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance, Emirates SkyCargo joined hands with DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to combine expertise and strengths to expedite the movement of vaccines to developing nations through Dubai.

The carrier also entered into an MoU with UNICEF to facilitate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in support of the COVAX facility for equitable distribution of vaccines. In May 2021, Emirates SkyCargo set up the Emirates India Humanitarian Airbridge and donated cargo capacity to transport essential supplies including oxygen cylinders, concentrators and relief tents free of charge on flights from Dubai to Indian destinations to help the Indian community battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pharma growth

In September 2016, Emirates SkyCargo launched its dedicated GDP certified pharma handling facility at Dubai International.

“At Emirates SkyCargo, we recognised very early on that our customers were looking for increasingly specialised solutions for their cargo and this was true especially for valuable and life-saving medicines that have to be transported under very strict conditions,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, in a statement.

“Our pharma volumes have continued to grow over the years and to date we have transported more than 400 million kilos (400, 000 tonnes) of pharma cargo under our Emirates Pharma umbrella,” said Sultan.