As Russia spruiks its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine test on the world stage, the country’s largest freight carrier said that it is testing flight capacity to prepare for vaccine transport.
This week, AirBridgeCargo (ABC) Airlines, a subsidiary of the Moscow-based Volga-Dnepr Group, claims to have transported 41 temperature-sensitive containers in a wet run on a Boeing 747-8F.
A representative for the airline confirmed that a recent flight carrying 41 RKN CSafe containers filled with over 30 tons of medicine was a test.
ABC’s global pharma director, Yulia Celetaria, said, “This transportation, to some extent, is the rehearsal to check that we are well-prepared for the COVID-19 vaccine, once its testing is finalised.”
Having received IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification last year, the airline is permitted to transport temperature-sensitive medical cargo such as vaccines.
While Celetaria didn’t reveal the type of test cargo used, he did indicate that the Boeing 747-8F picked up the cargo in Amsterdam and routed it through to China.
Rather than split the shipment into more than one flight, ABC chose to load all the containers onto the main and low decks to maximise capacity and test the safe delivery of the shipment.