• Joe Breitfeller

Delta Prepares for Global Vaccine Transport; Launches First U.S. Contract Tracing Program

The carrier has proven capabilities for transporting COVID-19 vaccines with large warehouses and cooler facilities in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York-JFK and Seattle. Delta will also launch the first contact tracing program for inbound U.S. travelers.


Delta Brings Proven COVID-19 Vaccine Transport Capabilities to Global Shipments - Courtesy Delta Air Lines

On Thursday (December 3, 2020), Delta Air Lines announced that they have proven capabilities for the global transport of the COVID-19 vaccine. The carrier performed successful shipments earlier this year and has large warehouses and cooler facilities in Atlanta, Detroit, New York-JFK and Seattle, as well as a network of 49 certified pharma airports across the globe. In addition to robust U.S. shipment capabilities, Delta has a broad and nimble global distribution capability in partnership with Air France-KLM Martinair Cargo and Virgin Atlantic Cargo. In Thursday’s announcement, Delta’s Vice President – Delta Cargo, Rob Walpole, said,


“Effective and rapid distribution of the vaccines as they reach final approvals is one of the most critical elements in containing the virus. That's why we created a vaccine task force months ago charged with understanding requirements and working with healthcare and pharmaceutical experts, building scalable solutions to support the industry. After successfully shipping test vaccines throughout the summer and fall, we are confident in our capability and stand ready to help ensure approved vaccines are broadly distributed.”


Delta has enhanced their existing pharmaceutical delivery protocols to include the highest level of access and boarding priority, a Vaccine Control Tower with 24/7 centralized monitoring and reporting, and Pharma-ready Cargo-only charter operations within and outside their network. Delta was the first U.S. airline to receive IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators Pharma Logistics Certification at their headquarters and Atlanta warehouse.


In a separate announcement today, Delta further announced that they will launch the industry’s first contact tracing program for travelers returning to the U.S. In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Delta will keep international travelers informed of potential exposure through contract tracing. The carrier is also working with their nine global partners, health officials and aviation authorities to ensure safer travel at every point in the journey. From December 15, 2020, Delta will ask guests traveling to the U.S. from an international location to voluntarily provide five pieces of data including full name, email address, address in the U.S., primary phone and secondary phone. This information will aid in contract tracing and public health follow-up efforts. In today’s announcement, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, Bill Lentsch, said,


Delta Launches Industry-First Contact Tracing Program for Inbound U.S. Travelers - Courtesy Delta Air Lines

“Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel. We want customers to feel safe when they return to travel, and this voluntary program is another way we can provide additional reassurance to customers and employees alike.”


Guests can voluntarily participate in the industry-first contact tracing program if they are flying on a Delta-operated flight and are a foreign national and/or U.S. passport holder traveling to the U.S. as their destination. The five contact tracing data points will be available to the CDC via U.S. Customs and Border Protection, giving the CDC access to data in moments for seamless notification to affected customers through local health departments. Contact tracing information will be required for Delta’s COVID-19 testing program between Atlanta and Rome which will commence on December 19, 2020. The program, which was announced last week, enabling quarantine-free entry into Italy.



Source: Delta Air Lines