Indian Airlines Have Transported Over 190 Million Vaccines

Indian carriers have transported over 190 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since January of this year. Over 1,000 domestic flights have carried doses from their production hub to airports around the country as demand rises. On Monday alone, carriers flew over four million doses to 18 cities across India.

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Airlines are a critical part of vaccine supply chains globally. Photo: Getty Images

Critical goods

As of 24th May, Indian airlines have flown an impressive 193.6 million vaccine doses since the rollout began in January. Being a vaccine production hub, nearly all these flights have been domestic, with airlines transporting these critical shots to 60 airports across the country on over 1,030 flights.

India has approved the use of three vaccines currently, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield (the local name for Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine), Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN, and Russia’s Sputnik V. The latter only received approval last month, and doses are currently being imported from Russia for use.

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Pune has emerged as the biggest vaccine hub in India, with millions of doses being flown out every day. Photo: Getty Images

Currently, three airports are handling vaccine transportation in India. Pune, home of the Serum Institute, has emerged as the largest hub for vaccines. Since Covishield is the most-used vaccine in the country, airlines have been maintaining several daily services to Pune to transport the doses.

Additionally, doses of COVAXIN are being produced in Hyderabad and Bangalore, making these cities hubs too. Both cities are well-served by domestic airlines and can provide adequate services to the entire country.

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Ramping up

On Monday alone, airlines transported an impressive 4.06 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. This was split over 17 flights and 348 boxes, reaching 18 destinations across the country. As vaccine demand and production capacity ramp-up, expect to see these figures rise in the coming months.

The transport for vaccines has become even more important as India battles a crushing second wave. Even one dose of a vaccine can help cut down the chances of severe infection dramatically, making their rollout crucial. However, India has been struggling with high demand as it opens up eligibility to all adults.

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Vaccines have become a critical good in India as cases skyrocket. Photo: Getty Images

Recent days have seen cases in India finally slow down, lifting the burden from the health system. However, vaccines are expected to remain in high demand through 2021, keeping airlines busy for the foreseeable future.

IndiGo leads

While exact statistics about vaccine transportation market share are not available, we know IndiGo is the market leader. As of April 12th, the airline carried an impressive 36.5% of all vaccines flown, equating to just under 70 million doses as of today. Considering IndiGo has the most daily flights and destinations of any Indian airline, this statistic is hardly unexpected.

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IndiGo leads India’s vaccine transportation market, flying over 36% of all doses from January-April. Photo: Getty Images.

However, as passenger numbers plummet, vaccines and other cargo have become an important revenue source for Indian airlines. For now, carriers will be happy to tap into markets to survive this crisis.

What do you think about India’s vaccine transport statistics? Let us know in the comments!