• Joe Breitfeller

American Airlines Cargo Prepares for Vaccine With Trial Flights From Miami to South America

The airline’s cargo team is preparing for the transport of the COVID-19 vaccine(s) once they are approved. In conjunction with pharmaceutical and cargo partners American has started to conduct trial flights from Miami to South America on a Boeing 777-200.


A Boeing 777-200 aircraft with containers ready to be loaded in the cargo compartment at Miami International Airport. American’s cargo operation has recently used this type of aircraft and cargo containers for its trial flights from Miami to South America in preparation for transporting the COVID-19 vaccine once approved - Courtesy American Airlines

On Monday (November 30, 2020), American Airlines announced the launch of trial flights between Miami and South America in preparation for vaccine distribution once they are approved. In cooperation with pharmaceutical and cargo partners, the carrier is conducting trial flights between Miami and South America on a Boeing 777-200 simulating the necessary conditions by stress testing thermal packaging and operational handling processes. American Airlines Cargo is a recognized expert in cold chain logistics has been shipping critical life-saving medicines for over 80 years. The airline has also been involved in transporting components for Phase III COVID-19 vaccine trials to research facilities around the world. In Monday’s announcement, American Airlines Cargo’s President, Jessica Taylor, said,


“A COVID vaccine is essential for everyone’s health and well-being and for our nation’s recovery. The American Airlines team is working collaboratively with cargo, pharmaceutical and federal partners so we are ready to safely and quickly transport an approved vaccine. Despite the significant challenges the airline industry is facing, we’re working night and day to put our greatest strengths to use during this time of need — our network, our aircraft and our incredible team.”


Many vaccines require special handling to be kept at a cold temperature throughout the journey and American Airlines has an established network of facilities and team members prepared to meet the challenge. The carrier has earned IATA’s prestigious Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) certification. Vaccine shipments can be sent in active containers with built-in temperature and monitoring controls or passive containers where temperature is regulated by dry ice or cold packs, designed to keep the product at the required temperature for the duration of the journey.


American Airlines has a global network of temperature-controlled facilities for short-term storage and expert handling. Shipments are tracked throughout the entire journey from American’s Cargo Control Center located within Integrated Operations Control in Fort Worth, Texas. The carrier began an overhaul of their Cargo operations infrastructure in 2019 to ensure better tacking and management of shipments including enhanced proactive monitoring capabilities.


American Airlines’ purpose is to “care for people on life’s journey.” Shares in the American Airlines Group, Inc., trade on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol AAL and the company’s stock is included in the S&P 500.



Source: American Airlines