Ready for transportation of COVID-19 vaccine from Pune: AAI

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Pune, Jan 7 (PTI) The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday said it is fully geared to deploy its resources to facilitate transportation of COVID-19 vaccine across the country from here.

Consignments of 'Covishield' vaccine, manufactured at city-based Serum Institute of India (SII), are scheduled to be dispatched to various locations in the country from the Pune airport.

The AAI said along with its subsidiary AAI Cargo Logistics & Allied Services Company Ltd (AAICLAS), it was ready for the task.

On Wednesday, a meeting of all stakeholders, including SII, AAI and the Indian Air Force (IAF), was heldhere to discuss the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for transportation of vaccine from the Pune airport to various destinations.

The AAI-operated airport at Lohegaon shares the runway with the IAF.

'Everyday, Pune @aaipunairport operates 40 flights to 15 destinations across the country. The airport handles 150- tonne cargo daily.

'#AAI & @AAICLAS_in are fully ready and capable of contributing airport resources for transportation of COVID-19 vaccine in the national interest,' the AAI tweeted.

When contacted Kuldip Singh, director, Pune airport, said the purpose of the Wednesday's meeting was to assess the aerodrome's capability and readiness to handle vaccine cargo.

'We are capable of handling the cargo,' he said.

The Union health ministry has informed states and union territories that they are likely to receive the first supply of COVID-19 vaccine shortly and asked them to remain prepared to accept these consignments.

In a communique in New Delhi, the ministry said vaccine will be supplied to the identified consignee points of 19 states and union territories.

India's drugs regulator on Sunday approved Oxford- AstraZeneca's 'Covishield', manufactured by SII, and home- grown Covaxin of Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country. PTI SPK RSY RSY