SkyTeam Cargo Launches V EXCELLENCE, a Dedicated Program to Safely Transport COVID-19 Vaccines Worldwide

Alliance draws on specialist experience and extensive network to get vaccines where they are needed  

AMSTERDAM, 18 March 2021 – SkyTeam Cargo, the global airline cargo alliance, has launched V EXCELLENCE, a dedicated program for shipping COVID-19 vaccines. Harnessing years of combined experience in shipping pharmaceuticals, the cargo alliance’s 12 members are driving service excellence to ensure the safe delivery of vital supplies as vaccination programs roll out worldwide. 

SkyTeam Cargo’s V EXCELLENCE program covers the transport of COVID-19 shipments moved under the members’ unique product family: CUSTOMIZED VACCINES, offering special handling and priority; and SPECIALIZED PHARMA, the solution for all pharma shipments. Most members hold International Air Transport Association (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Pharma certification and are experts in the transportation of pharmaceutical, health care and life science products. This includes the complex procedures necessary to safely ship certain vaccines requiring dry ice to maintain ultra-cold temperatures.   

Around the globe, SkyTeam Cargo members are deploying expertise and dedication to get vaccines to where they are needed:

  • Aеroflot has carried millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to various continents. The Russian flagship carrier has transported about 50 tons of COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with strict priority rules and conditions.

  • Aerolineas Argentinas Cargo has so far transported 3,374,000 doses of Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines from Russia and China to Argentina and other Latin American countries.

  • For the first time in 86 years, Aeromexico Cargo chartered a flight to Russia and collected a shipment of vaccines destined for Mexico. This flight is in addition to other shipments from Argentina transporting active ingredients to manufacture around 12 million doses.

  • Air France-KLM Cargo has successfully transported millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to various continents. Air France-KLM Cargo's extensive global cargo network, expertise, dedicated people and services play a vital role in successfully shipping COVID-19 vaccines with the highest priority and under the strict conditions required.

  • Alitalia Cargo, leveraging its consolidated experience in shipping pharmaceutical products, has been committed to supporting the transportation of all medical supplies needed since the COVID-19 emergency started. The airline is now active in the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines working closely with freight forwarders and leading pharmaceutical companies

  • Delta Cargo has safely delivered almost half a million vaccines and clinical trial shipments within the U.S. and across the globe, all with the utmost care and constant monitoring via its Vaccine Watch Tower.

  • Korean Air is transporting COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine ingredients to Asia and Europe and is also one of several SkyTeam Cargo members working with UNICEF for the global transport of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Saudia Cargo to date has transported more than 10 tons of both Pfizer & Astra Zeneca vaccines into Saudi Arabia and is diligently working to exponentially enhance this number in the coming weeks.

“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 CEO of Saudia Cargo, Omar Hariri. “Vaccines are vital to tackling the pandemic and as production ramps up, SkyTeam Cargo members have the skills and capacity to deliver, facilitating wider access for populations across the globe thanks to our strong partnerships with major freight forwarder experts in the pharma industry.”

JD Eum, Senior Vice President and Head of Cargo Business Division at Korean Air commented: "Korean Air is currently transporting COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, and related medical supplies to/from Korea, and will continue to invest all necessary resources to ensure the safe transport of the vaccine. We hope to expand the vaccine's delivery to more regions by cooperating closely with SkyTeam Cargo members and sharing networks."

During the ongoing crisis, SkyTeam Cargo members are playing a vital role to ensure essential cargo shipments of medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE) and emergency supplies reach frontline health care practitioners.

About SkyTeam Cargo  
SkyTeam Cargo is the global unique Cargo Alliance of 12 member airlines working together with more than 3,337 aircraft including 63 full freighters to destinations in 159 countries. The members are Aeroflot Cargo, Aerolíneas Argentinas Cargo, Aeromexico Cargo, Air France-KLM Cargo, Alitalia Cargo, China Airlines Cargo, China Cargo Airlines, Czech Airlines Cargo, Delta Cargo, Korean Air Cargo and Saudia Cargo.