When there is a vaccine for COVID-19, governments will be scrambling for aircraft. Distributing the vaccine will be one of the biggest logistical operations ever. Airline experts say transporting the vaccine globally will need 8,000 747 cargo planes. This is enough for 7.8 billion doses of a vaccine - one dose for everyone on Earth. The experts warned governments they must start planning for the "mission of the century". They said: "If we assume that half the needed 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 to distribute a vaccine. One key element is to create temperature-controlled cargo hubs and warehouses. The vaccine must be kept at the same temperature throughout its journey. Staff must be trained and quickly become experts at safely handling the vaccine. The experts said another challenge would be security and cross-border controls. They said: "Vaccines will be highly valuable commodities. Arrangements must be in place to ensure that shipments remain secure from tampering and theft."