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AirAsia seeks permit to transport COVID vaccines to remote areas

  • AirAsia is eyeing special authorization to handle COVID-19 vaccines in far-flung areas of the Philippines
  • The airline is awaiting regulatory approval of its application as a dangerous drugs carrier
  • Personnel received ground- and cargo-handling training for vaccines and their cooling devices
  • Teleport, AirAsia’s logistics venture and newest door-to-door delivery system, will help in vaccine delivery

AirAsia is seeking special authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to participate in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in far-flung areas of the Philippines.

This is while it waits for regulatory approval of its application as a dangerous drugs carrier, the low-cost carrier said in a statement.

AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer Ricky Isla said aside from using its existing route network, the airline is committed to mounting charter flights to provincial airports which can accommodate wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus 320 to fast track vaccine distribution efforts.

AirAsia’s commitment comes ahead of the expected arrival in the Philippines of at least 5.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the first quarter of 2021, according to National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr.

The Food and Drug Administration last month approved emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. Other pharmaceutical companies are now in the process of applying for the EUA.

To guarantee safe and proper handling and transportation of vaccines, AirAsia said it has embarked on a technical training and engineering intervention to support the vaccine cold chain; personnel have received ground and cargo-handling training for vaccines and their cooling devices.

The airline noted such precision and coordination is important to ensure vaccines, which are perishable and considered a biological hazard, remain in sub-zero temperatures to preserve them and prevent their breakdown.

The company has also readied Teleport—AirAsia’s logistics venture and its newest door-to-door delivery system—to help in the delivery of the vaccines.

Teleport is available in 12 cities, including Bacolod, Cebu, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga.

AirAsia recently earned a perfect 7-star rating from Airlineratings.com for its protection of its passengers against COVID-19.

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