CORONAVIRUS/China Airlines, EVA Air eye market for COVID-19 vaccine delivery

Taipei-Taiwan's leading airlines, China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways, said recently they are making preparations to expand into the cold chain logistics market amid the tremendous business opportunities offered by COVID-19 vaccine delivery.

CAL said on Tuesday it is well-positioned for the market as the carrier, which ranks among the top six cargo airlines in the world, is also the only airline in Taiwan to have obtained international pharmaceutical cold chain logistics certification.

CAL obtained its Center of Excellence for Independent Validations in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) by passing the certification process of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2019, it said.

Not many Asian airlines have been awarded such a certificate, meaning CAL -- along with other CEIV Pharma holders such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and China Southern Airlines -- may be able to dominate the market in the early stages.

As CAL is capable of transporting all goods that have to be kept between 25 degrees Celsius and minus 20 degrees, including flu vaccines, anti-cancer drugs, insulin and rapid test agents, the airline said, it has already received a number of inquiries about transportation plans for different types of vaccine.

Meanwhile, EVA Air said Wednesday it is also experienced in cold chain logistics, adding that it has briefed the government about its transport capacity for the COVID-19 vaccine produced by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

However, the vaccine procurement status of Taiwan's government remains unclear.

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) denied the previous day a news report saying Taiwan had obtained 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer.

According to the report, the vaccine doses were scheduled to arrive Feb. 4 on an Emirates flight.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel