DGCA fixes norms for airways, asks them to hold COVID-19 vaccines in dry ice containers

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 8

As the government prepares to roll out COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the Civil Aviation regulator, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on Friday came out with detailed guidelines on the transportation and storage for the airlines and the airports. They need to carry and store the vaccines in packets of dry ice, it said.

The DGCA in its order said, “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 the global safety standards and requirements based on local conditions.”

All scheduled operators who have been currently authorised to carry dangerous goods may carry COVID-19 vaccines packed in dry ice, meeting the regulatory requirements, it said.

“Non-scheduled operators, including aircraft engaged in general aviation and are required to participate in the carriage of COVID-19 vaccines packed in dry ice, shall seek specific approval before commencing such operations. Compliance with ICAO Doc 9284 (Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air) is the responsibility of each operator,” the DGCA said.

While explaining the need to pack the vaccines in packets with dry ice, the DGCA noted that the temperature maintenance requirement for COVID-19 vaccines is reported to be varying from -8° C to -70° C and hence, the use of refrigerant material during the transportation becomes essential.

The aviation regulator said all operators during transportation of COVID-19 vaccines packed with dry ice shall establish the maximum quantity of dry ice that can be loaded in a given cargo hold and/or compartment or in the main deck (passenger cabin) when a passenger version aircraft is deployed for all cargo operations.

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