Hopes up as maiden flight carrying Covishield reaches Delhi
The very first flight carrying 672,000 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses, reached the national capital on Tuesday morning. The SpiceJet flight SG8937 departed the Pune airport at 8.05 am landed at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport around 10.15am.
The consignment of 56 boxes of vaccine Covishield, having 12,000 doses in each, was later transported to Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital in Delhi’s Tahirpur and also to Karnal in Haryana, ahead of the nationwide inoculation drive, starting January 16.
During the course of Tuesday, eight other flights carried a total of 565,000 lakh vaccine doses out of Pune to 12 other cities, including Chandigarh, Patna, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Lucknow.
At the Delhi airport, a team comprising officials of the Airports Authority of India, ministry of civil aviation, health ministry, Delhi airport operator and Central Industrial Security Force received the vaccines and shifted them to the cargo terminal, where they are being stored in temperature controlled units.
Officials aware of the developments said around noon, the process to load the vaccines into two temperature controlled container trucks started. “At 1.15pm one of the trucks, carrying 34 boxes, left for Karnal. An hour later, the second truck left the airport with 22 boxes of vaccine for the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in Tahirpur. Each of these boxes contained 12,000 doses,” said a senior official from the Delhi airport, requesting anonymity.
The Central Industrial Security Force, that secures the Delhi airport, ensured that the vaccines were duly packed and checked the certification forms of the consignment before both the trucks were dispatched to their respective destinations.
Deputy commissioner of police (IGIA) Rajiv Ranjan, said they had ensured adequate deployment outside the cargo terminals to ensure law and order. “The trucks were escorted by Delhi Police vehicles for a smooth passage as traffic police kept the route clear. The truck headed to Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital through a dedicated corridor,” Ranjan said.
Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director, SpiceJet, said the airline on Tuesday carried the country’s first consignment of Covid-19 vaccine from Pune to Delhi. “This was followed by multiple flights to different cities as SpiceJet transported close to four million Covishield vaccine doses weighing around 11 tonnes on the very first day of shipment,” Singh said.
The airline also carried vaccine consignments to the cities of Guwahati, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Patna and Vijayawada on Tuesday, Singh said.
An official from the ministry of civil aviation, who wished not to be named, said the first two flights operated by SpiceJet and Indigo from Pune went to Delhi and Chennai on Tuesday morning. “Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and Indigo operated nine flights from Pune carrying 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh, on Tuesday,” the official confirmed.
In days to come, the Delhi airport is expected to receive many more flights carrying Covid-19 vaccines. CEO of the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said the temperature-controlled facilities, the temperature ranging from -20 degrees centigrade to 25 degrees centigrade, at the two cargo terminals at Delhi airport can safely handle these vaccines. “We have cool chambers and cool dollies to maintain the temperature required for these vaccines at the terminal and during transit between aircraft and terminal or vice versa. Our both terminals can handle around 5.7 million vials a day,” Jaipuriar said.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Jain also pointed out that in the process of disbursing the salaries the Delhi government had to reduce the budget of the Delhi government’s other departments.