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CSMIA commences COVID-19 vaccines transportation

VT-SLM, Boeing 737-800

Update: January 22, 2021

First batch of COVID-19 vaccines shipped to Morocco and Brazil

The Indian Government approved the commercial export of COVID-19 vaccines from India from January 22. The first set of consignments were shipped from CSMIA to Brazil and Morocco.

The first set of vaccines departed on Emirates flight EK501 to Dubai. The vaccines were further shipped from Dubai to Brazil on flight EK 9255 to São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport. The vaccines will later be shipped to Galeão International Airport on another aircraft.

COVID-19 vaccines being loaded to Emirates flight at CSMIA, Mumbai
COVID-19 vaccines being loaded to Emirates flight at CSMIA, Mumbai. Photo Source: CNN Brasil (

A special charter flight operated by Moroccan carrier Royal Air Maroc (AT3884) operated by the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (CN-RGT) landed at CSMIA at 0530 hrs. The aircraft was loaded with the vaccines and departed from CSMIA at 0800 hrs (AT3885).

Special thanks for the officials at CSMIA for giving us the opportunity to click the pictures of these scenes from airside earlier this morning.

There’s finally light at the end of the tunnel! Early days of January saw the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) approve COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.

The two variants – Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) is the Indian variant of the AZD1222 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Covaxin is another vaccine manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

CSMIA facilitates delivery of COVID-19 vaccines across the country

On January 13, CSMIA airport facilitated the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across India. A total of 227 boxes containing 2,72,400 does of the vaccine were shipped from the airport. The first vaccine shipment departed from CSMIA at 0520 hrs to Goa on GoAir (VT-WGR) with 2 boxes (2,400 vials / 24,000 doses) of the vaccine. The second shipment departed to Rajkot at 0600 hrs on SpiceJet (VT-SYT) with 7 boxes of the vaccines. Another batch of vaccines departed to the North East Indian areas via Kolkata on IndiGo (VT-IZA).

The rest of the vaccine boxes were delivered to Goa, Bagdogra, Rajkot, Ranchi, Imphal, Agartala, Kochi, Bhopal, Kanpur, Jammu, Srinagar, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Gorakhpur, Raipur, Dehradun, Varanasi, Indore, Trivandrum and Jabalpur on SpiceJet, IndiGo, GoAir and Vistara. Kochi and Raipur received the largest delivery of 27 and 25 boxes of vaccines.

Being a Pharma hub, Mumbai airport has a dedicated team of COVID-19 task force in place. The key responsibilities of this team is to reduce the dwell time and facilitate advanced planning and collaboration between the airport and all stakeholders. The airport also has a full-time 24×7 Customer Service Cell for COVID-19 vaccine export-import (EXIM) consignments. The spokesperson at CSMIA also said that in addition to existing infrastructure at the airport, the flexible slots for ad hoc charter operations will play an important role in cargo storage and movement of the vaccine.

The airport cargo section has also implemented SOPs for these vaccine movements. These SOPs saw the vaccine processing time of just 7 minutes – from the time of acceptance to dispatch at the ramp.

As of January 13 & 14, CSMIA has facilitated the delivery of almost 29,28,000 doses of vaccines across almost 25 destinations within the country.

On January 20, a batch of Covishield vaccines were sent as a friendly gift to our neighboring countries (Bhutan and Maldives). The vaccines were sent via SpiceJet (to Siliguri) (VT-SLM) and Air India (via Thiruvananthapuram) (VT-PPF).

Wrapping Up

During the pandemic times, CSMIA has been extending its helping hand in handling cargo activities across India and around the world. The airport continues to operate under strict precautionary measures both at the terminal and the cargo facilities. On behalf of Team Victor Tango Aviation, our kudos to CSMIA for the relentless efforts in handling the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines. We wish CSMIA the best in the months to come.

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