Iberia Brings First Air Shipment Of Vaccines To Spain

Iberia is the first airline to deliver the much needed Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Spain. A regularly scheduled passenger flight, number IB3205, transported pallets of the vaccine in refrigerated cargo hold from Brussels to Madrid.

Iberia Airbus A320
Spain is getting the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Belgium. Photo: Iberia

The pallets were placed aboard an Iberia Airbus A320 aircraft after being delivered from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine production plant in Puurs to Brussels Airport (BRU). The pallets, weighing 66 and 69 kilograms, arrived at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD) at 21:37, where they were unloaded and escorted by police to refrigerated facilities in a cargo terminal.

The vaccine was sent to the Canary Islands

At 04:00, the vaccine was loaded on flight IB9011 from Madrid to Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) in the Canary Islands, where one pallet was unloaded before flying on to Tenerife South Airport (TFS) landing at 07:50.

In a statement from Iberia seen by Simple Flying, the IAG-owned airline says that it is prepared to deliver the vaccine wherever it is needed. Iberia can keep the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the required minus 70 degrees Celsius temperature, thanks to its existing “Constant Climate” facilities. Iberia also has specially adapted refrigerated ground vehicles for transporting pharmaceutical products between aircraft and cold storage facilities in cargo terminals.

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Care home residents and staff, along with healthcare workers, will get the vaccine first. Photo: Iberia

In the coming days and weeks, Spain will receive 4,591,275 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will immunize 2,295,638 people. This is expected to cover the first phase of the immunization program with the vaccine being given to residents and staff of care homes, healthcare workers, and people deemed vulnerable.

When the coronavirus first arrived in Europe last spring, Iberia made nearly 100 flights to China to pick up personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to combat the medical emergency.

Iberia is an ambassador for Spain

In other Iberia, related news, Spanish King Felipe VI presented Iberia an award from the Madrid Entrepreneurial Confederation (CEIM) as the year’s most emblematic Madrid-based company.

The award was in recognition of the airline’s 93-year history of connecting Madrid and Spain to the rest of the world and the role Iberia has played in being an ambassador for Spain.

In a statement released in December seen by Simple Flying, the 52-year-old Spanish monarch remarked,

“Since 1927, Iberia has carried the image of Spain and Madrid to the entire world, contributing decisively to drive our most important industry, tourism. Despite the difficult circumstances the industry is now facing, Iberia will continue to fly our flag and carry the name of our country and our city, serving travelers of every nationality.”

Iberia award
Iberia is the national flag carrier of Spain. Photo: Iberia

The award also recognized the role Iberia has played during the COVID-19 global pandemic in delivering PPE and medical supplies and its more than 50 repatriation flights to bring 15,000 stranded Spaniards home.

When speaking at the ceremony, CEIM’s President Miguel Garrido spoke about how important a role Iberia has played in helping to combat COVID-19, saying:

“In a year as exceptional as the one we have been experiencing, it is our duty to honor those companies, great and small, that have tread this difficult path of transformation in order to continue to lead our growth.”

Spain loves Iberia

When accepting the award on behalf of the airlines’ staff, Iberia’s Executive Chairman Javier Sánchez-Prieto said:

“Our commitment to Spanish society is unceasing; our country can always count on Iberia whenever and wherever we are needed. Because that’s how an emblematic company is made, sharing good times and bad, digging our roots deep into the country and the city we love and where we feel loved.”

What do you think about the role Iberia is playing in getting the COVID-19 vaccine to Spain? Please tell us what you think in the comments.

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