Qatar Airways Cargo Transports Vaccines to India Amidst the COVID-19 crisis

The airline’s QR Pharma solution offers a seamless cool chain for the air transportation of all pharmaceuticals and healthcare products

14 May 2020

Doha, Qatar – Qatar Airways Cargo transported 56 SkyCell containers with vaccines from one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide on its scheduled freighter and belly-hold cargo flights for its customer, CEVA Logistics. The 54 tonne shipment consisting of pneumococcal and varicella vaccines were flown from Brussels to Mumbai via the carrier’s hub in Doha on two separate flights.

The SkyCell containers were loaded on Qatar Airways aircraft in Brussels and arrived in Doha where they were stored at the carrier’s airside Climate Control Centre for pharmaceuticals, before connecting on the aircraft to Mumbai the following day. During the interim storage in the cold chamber, SkyCell’s hybrid containers were able to recharge themselves, extending their long independent runtime for another 72 hours after arrival in Mumbai.

In the face of logistical challenges faced globally by the industry, the airline has been supporting global trade by operating its scheduled freighters, special charters and freight only passenger flights, offering businesses with much needed capacity and access to markets during these challenging times.

Mr. Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo said, “We are glad to support our customer CEVA and offer the much-required capacity for these vaccine shipments. When transporting climate control products, we ensure the cool chain is unbroken to preserve the efficacy of all medicines and pharmaceutical shipments flown on Qatar Airways Cargo. The COVID-19 crisis has indeed created quite a number of challenges for global trade, however air cargo is a resilient industry and we continue to operate our cargo flights, supporting customers to transport their cargo around the world.”

Chiara Venuti, Business Development Director of SkyCell further added, “The COVID-19 crisis leaves no room for error and direct product release without temperature deviation is key. We are therefore proud to have contributed with our container solutions to the safe and timely delivery of these critical vaccines to patients in need.”

Twan Reijers, Vice President Freight Management Benelux from CEVA Logistics said, “‘With the help of Qatar Airways Cargo, we were able to assist Global Biopharma company to move a large quantity of vaccines in the compliant and controlled environment of Skycell. Proud that our freight forwarding network arranged the set up for shipping these volumes during COVID-19 lockdown with zero tolerance towards temperature excursions into India, which is still very much impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

QR Pharma, the cargo airline’s specialist product developed for pharmaceuticals and healthcare products, offers active solutions to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the transportation chain, as well as passive solutions, which keep the pharmaceuticals within a defined temperature band during all stages of the journey.

The innovative Climate Control Centre situated at the airside at Hamad International Airport is equipped with segregated temperature-controlled sections for storing pharmaceuticals transiting the hub. It has two zones operating for 2°C to 8°C or 15°C to 25°C, with a capacity to hold a total of 156 unit loading devices (ULDs) at a time, in addition to the 64 temperature-controlled cells at the cargo terminal’s cold room. The cargo carrier utilises refrigerated vehicles at its hub for all temperature-sensitive cargo, ensuring perfect temperature control.

Currently, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar Airways Cargo continues to operate a significant cargo schedule with approximately 175 flights per day. During the past month the cargo operator has worked closely with governments and NGOs to transport over 100,000 tonnes of medical and aid supplies to impacted regions around the world on both scheduled and charter services, the equivalent of roughly 1,000 fully loaded Boeing 777 freighters. Freight charters are being operated to multiple countries including China, India, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

Qatar Airways Cargo utilises its full freighter fleet as per schedule and operates belly-hold cargo flights to destinations where possible. To check the most updated schedules, customers are encouraged to visit

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About Qatar Airways Cargo:
Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the world’s leading international air cargo carriers, serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 160 key business and leisure destinations globally on more than 250 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters, 21 Boeing 777 freighters and five Airbus A330 freighters.

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