New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The DGCA (The Director-General of Civil Aviation) on Friday issued guidelines for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines by airlines and airport operators. In the guidelines, the Centre has directed the airlines to pack the vaccine in the packets of dry ice.

The circular by DGCA read, “Carriage of Covid-19 vaccines from the manufacturing units to the place of administration gains significant importance especially in the light of the high expectations of the government(s), health care personnel and the general public. It is needless to say that amongst the various modes of transport, air transport is the most efficient option. Hence, it is imperative that air logistics provide a well-defined procedure that meets global safety standards and requirements based on local conditions.”

The guideline further stated that all the scheduled operators who have been authorized to carry dangerous goods may carry COVID-19 vaccines packed in dry ice. Whereas, non-scheduled operators including aircraft engaged in the general aviation that is required to participate in the transportation of COVID-19 vaccine, shall see specific approval before starting such operations.

Conformity with ICAO Doc 9284 (Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air) is the responsibility of each operator.

On the packing of the COVID-19 vaccines in dry ice, DGCA said that the temperature required for vaccines is varying between -8 degree Celcius to -70 degree Celcius, so, the use of refrigerant material during transportation becomes essential.

“Though there may be different refrigerant options, use of dry ice (Carbon Dioxide Solid) is the most commonly used, affordable and readily available refrigerant material available in the country for transportation of perishables by air. Dry ice continually sublimates (dry ice that is solid, transforms into carbon dioxide gas (COz)) at temperatures higher than -78°C (-108.4O F) under normal atmospheric pressure. At reduced pressures, the sublimation rate of dry ice will increase while all other factors being the same,” further stated.

DGCA also added that the operators while engaging in the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines shall organise the maximum quantity of dry ice that can be loaded in the given cargo hold or compartment or in the main deck when a passenger version aircraft is used for all cargo operations.

Posted By: Niharika Sanjeeiv