The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is an ongoing effort that is led by airlines across the world. In Latin America, the carriers have not lagged behind. Aeromexico, Aerolineas Argentinas, GOL, Azul, and LATAM have all started distributing the vaccines across their national territories. They are also distributing other medical goods to face the current pandemic. Let’s take a look at they’re doing.
Aerolineas Argentinas’ Russian trips
The State carrier Aerolineas Argentinas has flown twice to Moscow, Russia, to carry the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19.
To make these trips, Aerolineas used two of its ten Airbus A330. Between both trips, the airline has transported 600,000 vaccine doses. Pablo Ceriani, Aerolíneas’ CEO said,
“We have a strategic role in this country’s connectivity, and now we’re adding this special type of operations that we never thought we would have to do. This type of events, unpredictable, reaffirm the need of having an airline serving the Argentinian people in times of need.”
Several Latin American countries have already stated their interest in receiving the Sputnik V vaccine. Besides Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Mexico, and Nicaragua have negotiated the arrival of this vaccine.
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Yesterday, Aeromexico’s flight AM29 departed from Buenos Aires carrying 2.4 tons of the active substance used to develop COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
Onboard a Boeing 787, Aeromexico carried three Va-Q-Tainer containers, bringing the active substance. In a statement seen by Simple Flying, the airline said,
“This year, the priority is the transport of everything related to the vaccine. We expect to collaborate greatly in this supply chain, so important to Mexico and the world. We will guarantee safety.”
Since the pandemic arrived in Latin America, Aeromexico has transported over 3,600 tons of medical goods to 16 countries.
Besides Aeromexico’s efforts, Mexico has received several vaccine shipping on flights operated by cargo carriers like DHL. The country has vaccinated nearly half a million people.
What about Brazil?
Brazil started the vaccination campaign just this week. The three main carriers in the country have distributed the vaccines, lead by Azul. According to Alexandre Malfitani, the chief financial officer at Azul, the airline has distributed more than half of Brazil’s total vaccines.
In 14 hours, Azul transported two million vaccine doses in 12 cities across Brazil, the airline said in a statement. It transported 927 boxes to the cities of Aracaju, Vitória, Cuiabá, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Maceió, Rio de Janeiro, Joao Pessoa, Curitiba, Sao Luis, Salvador, and Natal.
To make this massive effort, the airline deployed the whole force of its fleet. It used ATR, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, and Embraer E1 airplanes to do so.
GOL Linhas Aereas has also participated in the distribution of the vaccine. Simple Flying contacted the airline, but it declined to comment.
Regarding LATAM’s involvement in the process, a spokesperson for the carrier said,
“Internally, we have a program with each country that allows us to transport the vaccines freely.” Currently, LATAM operates domestic flights in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.
In Chile, it has transported the vaccines to the cities of Arica, Antofagasta, Copiapó, Concepción, Temuco, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas.
Additionally, since last year, it has transported 900 health workers and over 1,000 tons of medical goods.
What about other carriers?
Neither Avianca nor Copa Airlines have transported COVID-19 vaccines so far. Nevertheless, we expect the Colombian carrier to take part eventually. According to an interview with El Universo, Avianca created a multidisciplinary team to handle the COVID-19 vaccines correctly.
In 2019, Avianca Cargo transported 1,639 tons of medical supplies between Europe and America. The airline surpassed 2,000 tons transported in 2020.
Meanwhile, there’s no information available regarding Copa Airlines’ transport of COVID-19 vaccines. Today, Panama received the first shipment of 12,840 Pfizer-BioN Tech vaccines, carried by DHL.
Are you willing to travel this year after receiving your COVID-19 vaccination? Let us know in the comments.