Delta people have been on the front lines of the global pandemic since the very beginning by providing essential travel. Now, our people are on the front lines supporting COVID-19 vaccine shipments – most recently from Detroit to Atlanta and San Francisco – following successful shipments of test vaccines earlier this year.
These critical vaccines are being shipped with the highest priority on Delta aircraft, with the entire journey monitored in Delta’s unique Vaccine Watch Tower that enables full end-to-end visibility for all vaccine shipments. With 24/7 centralized monitoring and customer reporting, the Tower works closely with Flight Operations to ensure the safe and secure transportation of the vaccines at the required temperature.
“Within three hours of being engaged, Delta Cargo had the vaccines in hand and on their way. Our successful COVID-19 vaccine shipments this week prove what we’ve known for a long time: that we’re ready and able to take on more in the all-hands-on-deck domestic and global distribution effort of this life-saving vaccine,” said Rob Walpole, Vice President – Delta Cargo. “Our vaccine task force, which was created months ago to understand the shipping requirements and work with healthcare and pharmaceutical experts, has built scalable critical shipment capabilities to support this effort.”
Delta’s extensive experience in shipping vaccines involves years of building an operation validated by Pharma industry standards and includes being the first U.S. passenger airline to receive IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators Pharma Logistics Certification at our Atlanta hub and headquarters. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta offered four tailored pharmaceutical shipping options that meet specific temperature requirements for vaccines – ensuring integrity through the entire journey.
With large warehouses and cooler facilities in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York-JFK and Seattle, as well as a network of 49 certified Pharma airports across the globe, Delta has the necessary infrastructure in place to support COVID-19 vaccine shipments. In addition to robust domestic shipment capabilities to support rapid distribution within the U.S., Delta has a broad and nimble global distribution network in coordination with strong airline partners – providing worldwide reach with stop-gap reliability and greater ability to warehouse and ship vaccines from more global hubs.
Delta Cargo launched a Cargo Charter operation in March to provide safe and reliable transportation of goods around the globe by working primarily with Delta’s established world-leading logistics partners. Delta dispatched idled aircraft on cargo-only flights to transport millions of pounds of supplies quickly and safely. Delta has operated over 1,800 cargo charter flights since February and is now averaging 30 cargo-only flights globally each week, carrying medical and PPE equipment, pharmaceuticals, U.S. mail, home office supplies and food.