Gerald R Ford International Airport in Michigan, US, has supported the first domestic shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.
Ford Airport has been preferred for shipments as it is the closest commercial airport to Pfizer’s Kalamazoo manufacturing operations.
In addition, the commercial airport is equipped with the required infrastructure to support the vaccine transportation.
The first doses reached the airport in a truck from Pfizer’s headquarters in Portage after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the vaccine for emergency use.
The crew subsequently loaded the vaccine shots onto a wide-body Airbus A300 transport aircraft, which can carry up to 105,000lb of cargo.
The aircraft took one hour and 30 minutes to reach Memphis, Tennessee.
Gerald R Ford International Airport Authority president and CEO Torrance Richardson said: “This is a big day for West Michigan and a historic milestone for the world that marks the beginning of the end to the global pandemic.
“The Ford Airport is honoured to play a key role in ensuring the vaccine gets into the hands of healthcare professionals around the country. Our continuing investment in infrastructure has ensured we are able to meet the demands of the aggressive delivery schedule. We train and prepare for this all year long to ensure we are ready for whatever challenges come our way.”
The vaccine shipments will be delivered first across the nation before transportation to other locations around the world.
Discussions are also underway with four global carriers that have expressed interest in transporting the vaccine.
Through its ‘Fly Safe. Fly Ford. Campaign’, Ford Airport has taken numerous coronavirus measures since the beginning of the pandemic.
Recently, the airport announced that it is serving as a Covid-19 drive-up test site for passengers and the community.
In August, the airport tested a new autonomous robot that disinfects using ultraviolet (UV) technology.