If a vaccine for COVID-19 arrives, governments will need many aircraft. Distributing the vaccine will be a huge logistical operation. Experts say transporting 7.8 billion doses of a vaccine - one dose for everyone on Earth - will need 8,000 747 cargo planes. Governments must start planning for the "mission of the century". Even if half the vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever.
The experts said many obstacles must be overcome. One key element is to create temperature-controlled cargo hubs to keep the vaccine at the same temperature. Staff must quickly become experts at safely handling the vaccine. Another challenge would be security and cross-border controls. The experts said: "Vaccines will be highly valuable commodities. Arrangements must be in place to ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft."