Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport will see 227 boxes of vaccines being flown out to 22 destinations on January 13. These boxes contain about 2.72 lakh doses of the vaccine.
The first shipment departed from the airport at 5:20am, to Goa, with GoAir carrying 2 boxes of the vaccine. SpiceJet, IndiGo and Vistara are the other airlines who are flying with the vaccine boxes.
Though Serum Institute of India, which is making the Covishield vaccine, is based in Pune, over half of the doses will be transported from the Mumbai airport, which has a higher capacity. In an earlier interview with Moneycontrol, Rajeev Jain, CEO of Mumbai International Airport Ltd, which runs the airport, said it could handle 200 tons of vaccine a day.
The vaccines will fly out to about 20 cities on January 13. These include Bagdogra, Rajkot, Ranchi, Imphal, Agartala, Cochin, Bhopal, Kanpur and Jammu.
The airline added that it was following a SOP for vaccine movement, and that the terminal had processed the cargo in "just 7 minutes, right from goods acceptance to dispatch at ramp."
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Apart from setting up a task force to oversee the vaccine movement, the airport also has started a 24-hour call centre. Giving details about its infrastructure, the airport said it has "Asia's largest temperature-controlled Export Pharma Excellence Centre and Pharma-dedicated Import Cold Zone, a first-of-its-kind - 'Cooltainer' facility and the largest hub for Envirotainer movements with over 60 power outlets for processing pharma active containers."
Apart from the Mumbai airport, the Hyderabad airport is another hub for vaccine distribution as it is home to Bharat Biotech, which is making the Covaxin vaccine.