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Qatar Airways Cargo signs agreement to support global COVID-19 vaccination logistical plans


The national carrier is investing in supporting the global accessibility of the coronavirus vaccine.

Qatar Airways Cargo and SkyCell, a Swiss-based provider of pharma-containers, have signed an agreement to provide adequate services to transport the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine once it is ready, the airline announced on Monday.

The temperature-controlled hybrid containers will enable the airline to support global vaccination logistic plans, providing stakeholders with a variety of options to transport medical products. 

“The logistics around pharmaceutical transportation is complex and being at the forefront of time and temperature sensitive transportation, we understand the intricacies of a seamless cool chain,” said Guillaume Halleux, Qatar Airways’ Chief Officer Cargo.

SkyCell’s containers are 100 percent recyclable, which helps eliminate landfill produced by production waste, while also reducing a shipment’s carbon footprint by up to 50 percent. Additionally, the containers can charge independently without the requirement of dry ice and manual intervention. They can self-recharge automatically in a cooling chamber or reefer truck.

“Qatar Airways Cargo is a leading air cargo carrier with a specialised pharmaceutical offering and an extensive network. The cooperation will meet the growing demand for hybrid containers as safe and sustainable pharma solutions for sensitive and critical drugs such as vaccines,” said Chiara Venuti, Director of Business Development and Airline Partnerships at SkyCell.

Read also: Qatar Airways gets QAR 7.3 billion government lifeline in response to losses

The containers are IoT (‘Internet of Things’) enabled, meaning that their temperature conditions are carefully monitored while they are being transported, ensuring the safety of the pharmaceutical products. Moreover, the containers can maintain steady temperatures for up to 202 hours (8.4 days).

“Through this agreement with SkyCell, we are glad to expand our container offering under QR Pharma and present customers with more options to transport their sensitive products. The hybrid container establishes an entirely new product offering for our clients that is both safe and sustainable for our businesses and the planet,” said Halleux.

QR Pharma is Qatar Airways Cargo’s specialist product developed for pharmaceuticals and healthcare cargo, offering passive solutions that handle products within a desired temperature band during all stages of the journey.

As part of Qatar Airways’ ‘We Qare’ project, cultural, social, economic and environmental play an essential role in its operations. Thus, the agreement with SkyCell will ensure the fastest transfer at Doha through its unique Quick Ramp Transfer (QRT).

QR Pharma volumes have grown by 14.5 percent in 2019 over 2018. This new partnership between SkyCell and QR Pharma will help benefit the future of the pharmaceutical transport industry.

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