Singapore. 08December 2020. Amid rapid developments in the testing and production of Covid -19 vaccines globally, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has made preparations to meet one of the largest and most important logistical challenges in recent history the safe and effective distribution of these vaccines around the world.

Over the last few months, SIA has been actively engaging various stakeholders across the supply chain and in pharmaceutical export markets to ensure that it is well-positioned to transport the vaccine s with speed and reliability .

An internal Covid-19 task force was set up in May 2020 to ensure readiness across all aspects of cargo operations, and manage the crucial task of safely carrying these time- and temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical shipments.

Leveraging our network connectivity

For the financial year ended March 2020, SIA Cargo carried about 22,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical shipments across its network.
coupled with SIA extensive network connectivity and the strong pharmaceutical handling capabilities at Singapore Changi Airport , positions it well as a key transit hub for the transportation and distribution of pharmaceuticals. It plays a key part in the air transportation of pharmaceutical s, particularly biologic shipments, from Europe and India to South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand .

In order to strengthen its pharmaceutical transport produc t, SIA has been actively expanding its THRUCOOL1 quality corridor network , with the latest additions to the network being Brisbane and Melbourne in September this year . THRUCOOL provides the assurance of safe and reliable transportation of time-sensitive and temperature-controlled pharmaceutical cargo on key pharmaceutical trade lanes .

Prioritising airfreight capacity for vaccine movements

SIA will make available cargo space on its flights and accord uplift priority to Covid- 19 vaccine shipments across the key vaccine trade lanes. This means readying the Boeing 747 -400 freighters, as well as the passenger aircraft fleet which will be deployed on cargo operations to increase the capacity for vaccine transportation where needed .

Building robust capabilities to ensure product integrity

Thermal protection systems are required to effectively meet the varying temperature requirements of the various vaccines that are currently in the pipeline. SIA has signed Master Leasing Agreements2 with key cold chain container providers such as CSafe, DoKaSch, Envirotainer, Skycell and Va-Q-Tec, to ensure that the Airline has access to sufficient temperature-controlled containers to handle the large volumes of vaccines that need to be transported by air .

A range of active tracking devices has also been certified for use on board the This provides the vaccine producers and their logistics service
providers with complete end-to-end visibility and tracking of the shipments (particularly temperature readings) throughout the journey, as well as the added assurance that the vaccine s are handled with utmost importance and care. In addition to the active tracking of the shipments through these devices, SIA has a 24×7 cargo hub operations team that will monitor the vaccine shipments through its digital operations control tower .

Working with partners to ensure readiness as key pharmaceutical hub

SIA has been working closely with its ground handling partner at Changi Airport, SATS, to ensure that the Singapore air hub is ready to handle and store large volumes of pharmaceutical shipments effectively. The Airline is also part of the joint public-private taskforce set up by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group. Through the joint public -private taskforce, SIA works closely with key stakeholders in the air cargo industry, as well as with regulatory authorities, to ready its capabilities to transport Covid -19 vaccines to and through the Singapore air hub .

Chin Yau Seng, Senior Vice President Cargo, Singapore Airlines said,”We have been working hard to ensure that we are ready for one of the biggest and most important supply chain challenges of our generation the transportation and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines around the world .
SIA has a well-established track record of safely and reliably transporting critical pharmaceutical shipments. We will continue to grow our pharmaceutical handling capability by investing in our THRUCOOL service and expanding our pharmaceutical quality corridor network. We are also working closely with our service partners to continuously improve pharmaceutical handling processes and capabilities across our network.”

The Airline was re-certified under IATA CEIV Pharma programme earlier this year in January 2020 , and Training and Quality Program (QEP) accreditation in November 2020. These cargo in line with the highest industry standards.