Air Freight News

Etihad Cargo joins UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative for vaccine and essential medicare response

Feb 16, 2021

MoU will see UAE’s national carrier collaborate on the distribution of vaccines, and essential medicines, medical devices, and humanitarian supplies

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to support its Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative.



Under the MoU, Etihad Cargo will aid the worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices, and other critical supplies to respond to the pandemic, managing all requirements through its dedicated COVID-19 Workforce. The UAE’s national carrier’s initial commitment will centre on helping maintain UNICEF’s regular immunisation programmes for the world’s most vulnerable children.

“Etihad Cargo had no hesitation in supporting UNICEF’s far-reaching humanitarian initiative to aid children most at risk worldwide,” explained Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales and Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group. “This partnership is in line with Etihad Aviation Group’s commitment to improve the wellbeing of people everywhere and underpins Abu Dhabi’s international role in providing humanitarian aid to build a safer world.

“With extensive experience and expertise in safe and efficient pharmaceutical logistics, Etihad Cargo will leverage its IATA CEIV-certified PharmaLife specialised pharmaceutical and healthcare product for the transportation of pharmaceuticals under temperature control which, under the membership of Abu Dhabi’s The HOPE Consortium, is already offering a complete supply chain solution to aid global COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”

Under the MoU, Etihad Cargo will collaborate with UNICEF’s global freight forwarder network, including with regard to services for countries with no commercial access. Services offered include high loading priority for vaccines and essential humanitarian supplies, shipment security and controlled cool chain monitoring and adjusting Etihad Cargo’s cold chain capacity to meet UNICEF’s forecast requirements.

“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,” said Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF Supply Division. “We are grateful to these airlines for joining forces with the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to support the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.”

The UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative brings together global airlines that cover routes to more than 100 countries, in support of the COVAX Facility – a global effort aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The initiative will also act as a global logistics preparedness mechanism for other humanitarian and health crises over the longer term.

During the past 12 months, Etihad Cargo has increased its pharmaceutical shipments by 50 per cent through PharmaLife. In addition to supporting global customers, the IATA CEIV-certified product has facilitated Etihad Cargo’s support of The HOPE Consortium’s efforts to serve the anticipated global demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

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