As Covid-19 vaccine nears India launch, Delhi airport prepares for pivotal role

Delhi airport's terminals offer world-class infrastructure for handling temperature-sensitive cargo

As Covid-19 vaccine nears India launch, Delhi airport prepares for pivotal role
Passengers at the Delhi airport. Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Biswarup Ganguly

New Delhi: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi reassuring the citizens that Covid-19 vaccines could be available in India within a few weeks, air cargo services at the Delhi and Hyderabad airports are getting ready to receive, store and transport the vaccines.

Airports are gearing up so that they can play a pivotal role in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines through state-of-the-art time and temperature-sensitive distribution systems as soon as these vaccines become available in India.

"Delhi Airport is fully prepared and geared up for phase-2 fight against this pandemic, to facilitate handling and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it is launched," said Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar.

The Delhi airport has two cargo terminals with world-class infrastructure that provides a good-distribution-practice-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo.

Also read: How Delhi airport is steadily winning war against Covid-19

Notably, the Delhi airport, in the recent past, has acted as a hub to distribute millions of PPE kits across the country.

The Delhi airport’s cargo facility has the capacity to handle over 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of cargo per annum. It has state-of-the-art temperature-controlled zones with separate cool chambers ranging from -20 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius. This will especially be helpful given the fact that temperature-control is extremely conducive for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines.

The Delhi airport authorities added that besides a cool chamber, it also has 'cool dollies' on the airside that ensures an unbroken cool chain during temperature-sensitive cargo movement between the terminal and aircraft.

Also read: Delhi airport achieves major green landmark after Covid-mitigation feats

DIAL, the company that runs the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, will press into service two integrated cargo terminals, which have an annual cargo handling capacity of 1.8 million metric tonnes. This capacity is scalable up to 2.3 million metric tonnes.

Both cargo terminals will also be provided with an adequate number of charging points to handle the temperature-controlled containers.

The Delhi airport has also set up a dedicated “transhipment excellence centre”, spread over an area of 6,500 square metres on the airside. This will ensure convenient and efficient movement of transhipment cargoes at the airport.

In order to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines are seamlessly transported out of the airport by road, dedicated gates have been set up at the cargo terminals for the fast movement of vehicles.

(Cover image courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Biswarup Ganguly)