The UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative has been formed with 16 global airlines to secure the worldwide transport of vaccines, and other life-saving supplies.
These airlines have signed agreements with UNICEF to support the prioritisation of delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices and other critical supplies to respond to the pandemic.
To help UNICEF reach participating countries swiftly and securely, airlines have committed to prioritizing the transport of the life-saving supplies, ensuring measures such as temperature control and security and adding freight capacity to routes where needed.
The initiative supports the COVAX Facility, a global solution to the COVID-19 pandemic that ensures participating countries have fair access to vaccines, regardless of their income level. Under COVAX, UNICEF is leading the procurement and delivery of quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines for low-income and lower-middle-income countries.
UNICEF notes that the participation of the airline industry is vital to support equal access to vaccines worldwide. The initiative will also act as a global logistics preparedness mechanism for other humanitarian and health crises over the longer term.
“Safe, timely and efficient transportation of life-saving supplies is critical to supporting access to essential services for children and families, and the aviation industry’s role in this is critical,” UNICEF says.
The COVAX deliveries and the subsequent vaccination of frontline workers will support health and social care systems to safely resume these critical services.
The 16 carriers that have signed on to-date include: AirBridgeCargo, Air France/KLM, Astral Aviation, Brussels Airlines, Cargolux,
Cathay Pacific, Emirates Skycargo, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, IAG Cargo, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Airways, SAUDIA, Singapore Airlines Ltd, and United Airlines.