As a series of COVID-19 vaccines near consent, Frankfurt Airport employees are gearing up to deal with the unprecedented logistical challenge of hauling countless life-threatening doses globally.
Frankfurt is Europe’s biggest hub for hauling pharmaceutical products and is crucial to the success of inoculating huge numbers of individuals against the mortal coronavirus.
“The strain is rising now that we are entering the sexy’ stage,” Karin Krestan, Lufthansa Cargo’s manager of operations, told AFP in a tour of this temperature-controlled”Cargo Cool Center” terminal.
Krestan, who utilizes her abilities as a former nurse, is certain her staff is prepared for the undertaking.
“The procedures are established, we are very positive and we feel well prepared,” she explained.
Max Philipp Conrady, the mind of cargo infrastructure in Fraport, told AFP: “We have been prepared since August”.
Frankfurt’s freight terminal was operating around the clock because the pandemic started, providing medication, surgical masks, and gowns and encouraging worldwide supply chains as passenger numbers dropped and airways grounded airplanes.
It’s 12,000 square yards of temperature-controlled warehouses, necessary for keeping medications, together with 2,000 square meters of cold storage, perfect for vaccines.
Fraport recently promoted investment in high tech “dollies” that transportation vaccines from cold-storage hangars to airplanes and today have 20 so many freighters could be loaded in precisely the same moment.
Some experiments, such as one made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, could be sent at regular refrigerator temperatures.
However, Pfizer’s, developed in the BioNTech laboratory in Mainz, approximately 20km from the Frankfurt airport, has to stay at approximately -70 degrees C (-94 F).
That needs car-sized containers that use dry ice to maintain contents stable, ultra-low temperature.
They can do this for as much as 120 hours with no power source, long enough to achieve far-flung destinations.
The EU recently agreed to buy 300 million doses of this Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, presaging a massive logistical operation, a lot of which may entail Frankfurt in the forthcoming weeks.
Though the airport can take care of the extra-cold cargo, Krestan noted that flight capacity is going to be a significant element in the speed of supply.
Supplying one dose into the planet’s almost eight billion individuals would need 8,000 jumbo jets, the aviation association IATA estimated in September, including that the freight industry faces”its biggest single transportation challenge “.
Cargo airplanes can normally carry as much as a thousand doses, so unless sub-zero temperatures have to be preserved.