The Philippine Airlines (PAL) is equipped to carry large amounts of vaccines for the COVID-19 from Europe and the United States to the Philippines promptly.
PAL President and COO Gilbert Santa Maria said that the airline can satisfy the maximum safety limits on the carriage of dry ice as it takes large enough quantities for transport.
In preparation for the transport of COVID-19 vaccines across continents as well as delivery to different parts of the Philippines, PAL is also doing simulation exercises.
In an interview on PTV-4, Gilbert Santa Maria said their aircraft are properly equipped to carry the vaccines on long-haul flights and distribute them to different airports in the country.
“We can carry these vaccines from continental locations to whatever airport in the Philippines that is most suitable, " he said.
Santa Maria stressed that “We can fly from Spain to Cebu to carry Moderna vaccines direct to the Visayas. We can fly from Spain direct to Davao to bring the Moderna vaccines there. If it’s Astra Zenica sourced out of Belgium, we can do the same. That’s our capability. We are the only airline in the Philippines with the ultra-long-haul, wide-body aircraft.”
Santa Maria also mentioned that the Airlines have multiple options for aircraft. Like the A330s, a medium wide-body, or the A320/A321s, the narrow body, or even the Dash 8, a turboprop that can fly as fasts as jets.
"The Dash 8 can take cargo from Manila to a secondary airport or to an island-destination that has an airport or fly to an airport and from there, fly out using smaller aircraft."
He said that the company has made a plan of transporting vaccine doses.
“The aviation industry and the cold chain logistics industry are critical partners in fulfilling this so-called ‘mission of the century'," he added.
“We’re ready to do that. We’re planning for it. The PAL team has been part of the cold chain logistics team organized by Secretary Galvez on the distribution of vaccines,” Santa Maria continued.
Meanwhile, to ensure proper handling and storage of the vaccines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd inspected the cold chain, temperature-controlled facilities near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
These facilities could store as many as 400,000 doses of Pfizer BioNTech vaccines and 640,000 doses of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.