Ethiopian Airlines partners with UNICEF for global COVID-19 vaccine distribution

18 Feb 2021

Addis Ababa – Ethiopian Airlines, the multi-award-winning and largest airline in Africa, has partnered with UNICEF for the global distribution of vaccines and other life-saving supplies. As per the agreement, Ethiopian will support the prioritisation of the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices, and other critical supplies to respond to the pandemic.

To help UNICEF reach participating countries swiftly and securely, Ethiopian has committed to prioritising the transportation of the life-saving supplies, ensuring measures such as temperature control and security, and adding freight capacity to routes where needed.

The UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative was launched on 16 February 2021, with over 10 leading global airlines covering routes to over 100 countries, in support of the COVAX Facility – a global solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, that ensures participating countries have fair access to vaccines regardless of their income level. Under COVAX, UNICEF is leading the procurement and delivery of quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines for low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

Regarding the partnership, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said:

“It gives us a great pleasure to have partnered with UNICEF in ensuring the safe, timely, and efficient transportation of life-saving supplies globally, thereby supporting access to essential services for children and families. We have invested heavily in our cargo capabilities and launched a new cold chain cargo transport equipped with simultaneous cabin temperature controlling system to efficiently distribute life-saving supplies across the world and we will discharge the global mission.”

Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF Supply Division, said:

“Delivery of these life-saving vaccines is a monumental and complex undertaking, considering the sheer volumes that need to be transported, the cold chain requirements, the number of expected deliveries, and the diversity of routes. We are grateful to these airlines for joining forces with the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to support the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.”

Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services, the cargo unit of Ethiopian Airlines Group, has been instrumental in facilitating the flow of medical supplies, including PPE, across the globe in support of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Its state-of-the-art cargo terminal in Addis Ababa is the largest in Africa with an annual capacity of around one million tons and compartmentalised temperature-controlled cold storage facilities.

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