Airport Authority Hong Kong

03/19/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/19/2021 01:58

HKIA - Preferred Hub for Vaccines Transportation

As worldwide delivery of COVID-19 vaccines commences, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), the world's busiest airport in international air cargo, is all geared up for the import and transshipment of vaccines. HKIA is equipped with state-of the-art infrastructure and facilities to provide safe, efficient, and reliable end-to-end transportation services for these temperature-controlled air cargo. In February 2021, the airport handled the delivery of the first two batches of COVID-19 vaccine in Hong Kong.

Upon arriving HKIA, aircraft carrying vaccines were allocated to parking stands close to the cargo terminals for priority unloading. Vaccines stored in temperature-controlled aircraft containers, which maintain a specified temperature throughout shipment, were transported to cargo terminals directly for immediate release or transfer to the next flight for transshipment.

Meanwhile, vaccines and pharmaceuticals that are shipped in containers without built-in temperature control, upon unloading handlers may utilise HKIA's fleet of about 30 cool dollies - the largest among all airports in Asia - to serve as mobile temperature-controlled storage. The cool dollies keep the cold chain intact as the vaccines are transported on the apron for transshipment, or to the cargo terminals for storage or release to receivers. The cool dollies are equipped with real-time temperature and GPS tracking, making sure the products are kept at the required temperature.

For vaccines on transshipment at HKIA, they can be staged in dedicated cold rooms of HKIA's three air cargo terminals. These cold rooms, providing a total area of about 5000mĀ², provides storage space at different temperature ranges to best suit the requirements of different products. The rooms are monitored in real-time to ensure no temperature fluctuation. Containers staged temporarily at the apron awaiting to be transshipped could also utilise the two designated apron shelters, which provide protection from direct weather elements. Electricity supply is also provided for temperature-controlled containers are also available at the shelters to support their continuous operation for onward shipment.

HKIA has been recognised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a Partner Airport of IATA's Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) since 2018, as its three cargo terminals, the three ramp handling operators at HKIA and a home-based carrier have also acquired the IATA CEIV Pharma Certification in recognition of their efficient and reliable handling of temperature-controlled pharmaceutical cargo. HKIA is one of the first few airports to attain the certification. Three cargo terminal operators at HKIA have also attained World Health Organisation (WHO)'s Good Distribution Practices for Pharmaceutical Products Certification.

In 2019, HKIA launched the world's first airport-to-airport Pharma Corridor with Brussels Airport, which is also a CEIV Pharma partner airport and Europe's key air cargo hub for pharmaceutical shipments. The Pharma Corridor offers a seamless shipment of pharmaceutical products between the two airports, while complying with strict industry standards, assuring the integrity of shipments.

Strategically located at the heart of Asia, plus its proximity to the Greater Bay Area through Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, HKIA is well positioned to be the preferred gateway in Asia to transship vaccines from manufacturing sites at different regions including China, Europe and the United States to other Asian countries.

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