Prathama Line

States Must Deliver on Commitments to Restore Global Connectivity

                22 October 2021              

Montreal – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to use the commitments reached at the ICAO High Level Conference on COVID-19 (HLCC) to make real progress towards restoring global air connectivity.

States attending the ICAO HLCC declared their commitment to 14 measures which, if acted upon, would enable airlines to meet the demands of consumers worldwide for a revival of air travel. In particular, two commitments need the most urgent action by governments. These are:

•We commit to taking effective measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and other communicable diseases by international air travel, in particular through the implementation of the ICAO CART guidelines, and encourage the harmonization of Member States’ multilayer risk management strategies to safely restore international connectivity and support the revival of the global economy as a critical step towards achieving our goal to enhance the social, environmental and economic sustainability of aviation, ensuring the interoperability and mutual recognition of, and accessibility to, digital applications, secure transmission and validation of pandemic-related testing, vaccination and recovery certification that protects privacy and personal data.’

•We commit to promoting, to the greatest extent possible, a harmonized and inclusive approach to facilitate safe international air travel, including alleviating or exempting testing and/or quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated or recovered passengers, taking into account the different circumstances of individual States and their national policies, in keeping with WHO’s policy and technical considerations for implementing a risk-based approach to international travel in the context of COVID-191 , and providing exceptions for non-vaccinated passengers. This will enable us to work towards strengthening the confidence of the travelling public and safely rebuilding international civil aviation.’

“Government-imposed restrictions continue to stop a revival of international travel. It remains 70% down on pre-crisis levels. The ICAO HLCC commitments show that governments understand what is needed to re-start global connectivity. The task now is implementation. Some governments have already started. The imminent opening of the US market to vaccinated travelers will be a big step forward. But we cannot let the output of this meeting remain as words on paper. The airline industry, 88 million livelihoods, 3.5% of global GDP and billions of travelers are counting on governments to deliver on the risk-managed reopening of international travel to which they have committed,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.


Earlier this month, ICAO published recommendations that will assist the realization of the HLCC declaration. Known as CART 3 (the Council Aviation Recovery Task Force), the outputs build on previous recommendations from CART as well as the Take-off guidance and Cross-border Manuals.

Key new or updated recommendations to ICAO member states encompass:

•Implementation and recognition of testing, recovery and vaccinations certificates (including digital formats)

•A harmonized multi-layer risk management approach among states to facilitate international travel

•Entry of fully vaccinated and recovered passengers including consideration of alleviating or exempting such individuals from testing and/or quarantine measures

•Access for air crew to vaccination as quickly as possible as recommended by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE)


is a roadmap toward a risk-based, data-driven approach to managing COVID-19. Its recommendations are the building blocks for states to achieve the ambition of the HLCC declaration. After a year-and-a-half of experience with COVID-19 we have the knowledge, data and experience to safely facilitate international travel without border restrictions. All the evidence and recommendations point towards restoring the freedom to travel for those vaccinated. And it is also clear that we have the capability to manage those without access to vaccination using testing,” said Walsh.

IATA Travel Pass

The industry is advanced in its preparation to efficiently manage travel health credentials with the IATA Travel Pass. It is a solution that responds to the HLCC’s recognition that a system will be needed to digitally manage pandemic-related testing, vaccination and recovery certification that protects privacy and personal data.

“Airlines cannot afford a restart that is compromised by paper-based processes for checking travel health credentials. Testing is complete and several airlines are already starting implementation of IATA Travel Pass across their networks. It’s also a ready-made solution for governments to be prepared to efficiently manage their documentation processes as demand ramps-up,” said Walsh.

The shipping crisis has gotten so bad that some companies are chartering air cargo planes for $2 million or more for a single flight

The shipping crisis has gotten so bad that some companies are chartering air cargo planes for $2 million or more for a single flight

by : Huileng Tan

The shipping crisis is driving some companies to ship their goods via air charters.

A trans-Pacific Boeing 777 air freight charter has hit $2 million – more than double its peak pre-pandemic price.

It could cost even more to ship out of Vietnam, as the manufacturing hub faces multiple disruptions.

The shipping crisis is boosting demand for air cargo, with desperate retailers sending the price of an air freight charter to record levels.

According to Air Charter Service, a trans-Pacific charter on a Boeing 777 costs around $2 million a pop. According to the UK-based air charter service, the pre-pandemic peak price for such a charter was $750,000.

Trade publications American Shipper and Journal of Commerce report similar prices quoted by other industry executives.

It could get even more expensive for companies trying to ship goods out of Vietnam with rates in the $2.5 million to $3 million range, said Edward DeMartini, vice president of air logistics development for North America at Kuehne+Nagel, per American Shipper.

Vietnam is a major manufacturing base for clothes, shoes, and electronics. But a months-long lockdown and recent worker exodus from the country’s business hub have caused operational disruptions on the factory floors and at ports.

Such bottlenecks come amid recovering demand from the US and Europe, stressing global supply chains.

“We’re chartering like mad,” Marc Schlossberg, executive director for air cargo at New York-based Unique Logistics, told American Shipper.

Sportswear giant Nike is one of those using more air freight, reported trade publication Retail Dive.

E-commerce giant Amazon is also reportedly shopping for secondhand cargo jets to avoid major port delays.

“If you had asked me a few years ago whether anyone would take an option of an aircraft positioned in at that price, I would have said it’ll never happen, but some shippers have simply been left with no other options,” said Dan Morgan-Evans, Global Cargo Director at Air Charter Service in a website post earlier this month.

Take-off for CMA CGM Air Cargo at Liege

Bali Relocation

New market entrant CMA CGM Air Cargo on March 13 operated its first flight.

The inaugural flight of the shipping group’s air cargo subsidiary took off from Liege Airport in Europe and headed across the Atlantic to Chicago O’Hare in the US utilising one of its Airbus A330-200 freighters.

A second Airbus A330-200F will enter into service on March 18, and will also serve the US.

The aircraft are being operated by Air Belgium, while ECS is selling capacity in its role as general sales agent.

Part of the aircraft’s capacity is dedicated to CMA CGM’s forwarding subsidiary, CEVA.

CMA CGM Air Cargo’s fleet will initially consist of four A330-200Fs.

By Damian Brett

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AFKLMP sets up Covid Service Centre to manage vaccine shipments

Import and Exports Worldwide

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP) has established a Covid Service Centre to manage all of its coronavirus vaccine shipments.

The service centre, which was launched after a trial in selected countries, caters to the temperature requirements of different vaccines.

Suitable for use with different container types, the service centre enables shipments are marked as the “highest priority on board”, 24/7 dedicated monitoring  and security measures.

Additionally, all coronavirus vaccine shipments transported by the carrier will be marked with the mandatory handling code SHL (Save Human Life).

Senior vice president of sales and distribution GertJan Roelands, said: “Understandably, at this exceptional time, a great deal of attention is devoted to combating the coronavirus crisis and everything that comes with it, such as the transportation of vaccines. I am grateful that we can make an essential contribution to this. 

“Our extensive experience and know-how, our dedicated and well-trained teams, combined with our wide product range and global network, are the most important pillars to provide our customers with the best possible service.”

Last month, UNICEF signed agreements with several airlines, including AFKLMP, as part of its Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative, which will support efforts to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines across the world.

By Rachelle Harry

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Vaccine flights: Air cargo swings into action

Urgent Airfreight

The number of vaccine shipments being transported by air is gradually taking off as more products are launched and more countries launch inoculation programmes. Below you will find all the latest updates on air cargo vaccine transportation operations from forwarders, airlines, airports and handlers.

MARCH 18: Airline alliance SkyTeam Cargo has launched a dedicated program for shipping Covid-19 vaccines. The V Excellence solution brings together the existing Customized Vaccines product, which offers special handling and priority, and the group’s Specialized Pharma product. “V Excellence is backed by a vast network reach combined with years of experience in special handling to guarantee the safe, reliable transportation of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines between continents,” said SkyTeam Cargo chairman and chief executive of Saudia Cargo, Omar Hariri.

MARCH 18: Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has set up a customer Covid Service Centre to manage all of its coronavirus vaccine shipments. Senior vice president of sales and distribution GertJan Roelands, said: “Understandably, at this exceptional time, a great deal of attention is devoted to combating the coronavirus crisis and everything that comes with it, such as the transportation of vaccines. I am grateful that we can make an essential contribution to this. Our extensive experience and know-how, our dedicated and well-trained teams, combined with our wide product range and global network, are the most important pillars to provide our customers with the best possible service.”

MARCH 15: Cathay Pacific Cargo will temporarily add passenger freighter flights between Brussels and Hong Kong to meet demand for vaccine transport. The extra cargo flights are planned until June and the schedule will be adapted to market demand and the latest developments. Earlier this month, Cathay Pacific Cargo shipped the first batch of 1m Fosun Pharma / BioNTech vaccines from Frankfurt to Hong Kong.

MARCH 15:  Delta has moved Covid-19 vaccines from the US to Europe. Routes include: Madrid to New York-JFK and Detroit to Brussels. The carrier’s pharma capabilities include temperature-controlled warehouses, and its monitoriing service provided by its Vaccine Watch Tower. Rob Walpole, vice president of Delta Cargo, commented: “We have been shipping vaccines daily throughout the US with 100% reliability, and as the global effort accelerates, we have been able to leverage our international network and pharma expertise to extend our vaccine distribution into numerous international markets. Our unique Vaccine Watch Tower has been critical in providing our customers peace of mind throughout the shipping process, in what is often a complex logistics chain.” 

MARCH 15: Turkish Cargo recently collaborated with Kuehne+Nagel to transport 1.7m doses of vaccines, on behalf of UNICEF for its Covax project, from India to Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The carrier has already transported vaccines for the Covax initiative from Barcelona to Tunisia,  and from Amsterdam to Kiev, Tbilisi and Amman.

MARCH 11: Ethiopian Airlines has operated Covid-19 vaccine delivery flights from Mumbai to Addis Ababa and from Beijing to Brazzaville. Ethiopian transported the first batch of coronavirus vaccines from Mumbai to Addis Ababa on March 6 2021. The airline continued to play its prominent role in the vaccine distribution and transported the vaccines from Beijing to Brazzaville via Addis Ababa on March 10 2021.

MARCH 11: Etihad Cargo and EFL (Expolanka Freight) have carried a vital consignment of vaccines from India to Egypt. The two entities collaborated to carry a consignment of 12,475,000 Tetanus and Diphtheria vaccine doses produced in India, the largest vaccine manufacturing origin according to WHO. EFL handed over the shipment to Etihad Cargo’s care in Mumbai, with the UAE’s national carrier transiting the consignment through its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport en route to Cairo.

MARCH 10: Passive temperature-controlled packaging manufacturer Softbox is supporting Pfizer with its rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. The companies worked together to develop a temperature-controlled, reusable parcel shipper developed specifically for ultra-low temperature shipments, such as the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored at around -70 degrees Celcius in order for it to be effective.

MARCH 10: Qatar Cargo recently surpassed a milestone  with 10m Covid-19 vaccines transported, including vaccines for UNICEF as part of the five-year MoU to support UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative.  Since December 2020, Qatar Airways Cargo has transported Covid-19 vaccines to twenty countries all over the world including Algeria, Cambodia, Denmark, Pakistan Rwanda, South Africa, the Netherlands, to name a few.

MARCH 8: Amerijet has delivered Covid-19 vaccines to the Caribbean and Central America on behalf of Odyssey Logistics Pvt. Ltd.  These shipments were a part of India’s Government gifted Covishield AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The vaccines bound for Jamaica, Guyana, and Nicaragua, were transferred via Amerijet’s 33,500 sq m hub at the Miami International Airport, which includes a 3,700 sq m temperature-controlled handling centre. “Delivering 350,000 doses of life-saving vaccines to destinations in our service region is something our entire company is proud of, and all of us at Amerijet are honored to be part of the global initiative to get the virus under control,” said chief executive Tim Strauss.

MARCH 3: Caribbean Airlines has transported Covid-19 vaccines from Toronto to Guyana. Marklan Moseley, general manager cargo and new business said: Caribbean Airlines is happy to have transported this important shipment. We have always carried temperature sensitive cargo and since the approval of vaccines for distribution, we ensured all measures were in place to transport same. Caribbean Airlines Cargo will continue to do its part in the movement of relief supplies throughout the region.” This latest shipment of vaccines will enable Guyana to advance the rollout of its vaccination programme.

MARCH 1: FedEx has today begun shipping the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine on behalf of McKesson Corp. to dosing centers throughout the US. The company has shipped millions of COVID-19 vaccines since US distribution began in mid-December 2020 and is prepared to scale up to accommodate anticipated growth in vaccine volume throughout the spring and summer. Nearly three months after Covid-19 vaccine distribution began, FedEx has shipped COVID-19 vaccines and supply kits to administration sites across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. Covid-19 vaccine volume is split evenly with FedEx moving approximately half the doses allocated by the federal government.

FEBRUARY 27: Cathay Pacific Cargo carried 1m vaccine doses manufactured by Fosun Pharma/BioNTech from Frankfurt to Hong Kong. The batch was the first from Fosun Pharma/BioNTech to be delivered to Hong Kong, where Cathay is based. The carrier has already also transported a Fosun Pharma/BioNTech shipment to Penang on one of its freighters. Cathay also recently transported 1m doses of the Sinovac to Hong Kong. The doses were loaded in six temperature-controlled Envirotainer RAP e2 containers to keep them at 2°C to 8°C, in the bellyhold of an Airbus A330 passenger aircraft. The carrier also transported 200,000 of Sinovac doses to Mexico. They were stored in a single Envirotainer RAP e2 container and carried on a Boeing 747-8 freighter. Additionally, Cathay has transported a CanSinoBIO vaccine shipment via Beijing and Hong Kong to Mexico.

FEBRUARY 27: MASkargo successfully flew in the first batch of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines from China to Malaysia. Flight MH319, utilising Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus 330-300 aircraft, departed from Beijing Capital International Airport at 02:30hrs and safely landed at KL International Airport at 09:00hrs.  The Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines were flown in utilising the MH Centigrade product designed explicitly for time and temperature-sensitive shipments. MH Centigrade caters to deep-frozen (-20˚C and below), refrigerated (2˚C to 8˚C) or chilled (15˚C to 25˚C) shipments using its active containers ACT (Envirotainer) and passive containers PCT (Normal ULD with dry ice and thermal blankets).

FEBRUARY 26: Incheon International Airport sees a constant flow of passengers and cargo and on February 26 a fleet of UPS trucks lined up at South Korea’s main gateway ready to receive its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines. The vaccines were packed and stored in Belgium for their journey to Incheon; and then driven to designated storage facilities throughout South Korea – maintaining strict temperature and quality controls – to be administered to front-line healthcare workers and others deemed most at risk.

FEBRUARY 26: Kuehne+Nagel successfully helped Sinovac Biotech Ltdfulfill its first Covid-19 vaccine shipment from Beijing, China to the Dominican Republic. The pilot shipment containing 768,000 vials of Covid-19 vaccine was stored in active temperature-controlled containers and arrived safely in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on February 23, benefitting its citizens just before its Independence Day. The shipment was closely monitored and compliant with the most stringent standards to guarantee product integrity. Prior to this shipment, Kuehne+Nagel successfully fulfilled multiple crucial assignments for Sinovac, including an air charter from Beijing to Turkey for a door-to-door delivery of nearly a quarter-million flu vaccines.

FEBRUARY 25: Silk Way West Airlines has operated more than 100 charter flights to deliver a range of medical supplies during the pandemic, and has now signed a number of ambitious contracts in preparation for the delivery of temperature-sensitive cargo. Supplies are safely delivered to specially equipped warehouses, and are handled by personnel specifically trained for the sensitive cargo. In preparation, the airline optimised operational processes, introduced new technologies and modernised the 1,500 sq m cargo terminal at Heydar Aliyev International Airport, with the refrigeration and freezer warehouse area was inspected and upgraded.

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IATA’s new platform is open for airlines (including non-members), freight forwarders and third-party IT providers in the air cargo business.

FCL Containers

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on 24 March (Geneva time) launched a new platform to support the digitisation of the whole air cargo supply chain.

The IATA Enhanced Partner Identification and Connectivity (EPIC) platform is expected to simplify the complex process of digitally connecting the various stakeholders across the air cargo value chain. This includes enabling the efficient exchange of critical information such as messaging capabilities and identities.

“As the air cargo industry continues to digitalise, airlines, freight forwarders, ground handlers and customs authorities need to be able to securely work together digitally,” IATA said.

Also read: Q&A: Glyn Hughes on vaccine logistics and collaboration

This is a considerable undertaking, the trade association noted, as currently more than 40,000 freight forwarders exchange messages with more than 450 airlines, and 23 third-party messaging service providers. In the absence of a tool for companies to exchange the information needed to make these business links, the process of digitization is essentially manual, slow and unduly complex.

“EPIC is a simple idea,” said Nick Careen, IATA senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo, and security. “It makes the information needed to do business across a digitized air cargo supply chain easily accessible.”

The timing couldn’t be more important, Careen noted, as the platform is expected to accelerate efficiency gains for air cargo. “COVID-19 has led to exponential growth of e-commerce and shippers are demanding quality services that only a digitized supply chain can provide,” he added.

In addition to supporting B2B processes, the participation of customs organisations in EPIC also supports digital customs clearance processes, particularly the efficient roll out of Advance Cargo Information (ACI) requirements, including Preloading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) programmes.

EPIC is open for use by airlines (IATA members and non-members), freight forwarders and any third-party, intermediary or IT provider in the air cargo business. IATA noted that the platform has already attracted the participation of 32 airlines, 900 freight forwarder branches, 10 governments/customs authorities, five international organizations and 13 third-party messaging providers.

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