Partners modify planes to help vaccine distribution

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
Tecnam and freezer maker Desmon worked together to develop the system that will allow vaccine delivery to remote areas. (Tecnam image)

Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam has partnered with ultra-freezer manufacturer Desmon to repurpose their P2012 airplane for Covid-19 vaccine transportation.

The aircraft platform, named P2012 Travelcare, was developed to help distributors worldwide reach even the most remote and hardly accessible communities, including the areas with underdeveloped transport infrastructure, to ensure timely and equitable delivery of help.

Equipped with Desmon’s ultra-freezer designed to attain, maintain and track product temperature, Tecnam’s P2012 Travelcare can transport as many as 115,000 vaccines to areas with less than 564 metres (1,850 feet) of paved or unpaved runway.

The platform is designed to maintain product temperature at up to -86°C during transport and -65°C for 10 to 12 hours after the system is unplugged to  allow for further distribution.

Tecnam’s Travelcare aircraft can land on runways as short as 564 metres long. (Tecnam image)

In addition to its unparalleled reach and refrigeration capability, the P2012 Travelcare platform can reduce the distribution cost to as little as US$0.005 per dose – several orders of magnitude less than the current means of transportation.

“As the first vaccine breakthroughs were announced, we realized that the communities in remote areas would face delays in receiving help,” said Tecnam’s managing director Giovanni Pascale Langer. “For example, 67 percent of European airports alone have runways shorter than 5,000 feet, making them inaccessible to large aircraft”

According to Langer, the P2012 Travelcare was designed to facilitate equitable and efficient vaccine distribution. “It is our contribution to the fight for a COVID-free world,” he added.

With the support Desmon, Tenam was able to repurpose the P2012 aircraft and meet all the necessary regulations for this special mission within less than a month.

“The value of the P2012 platform will extend beyond this mission,” Langer concluded. “Today, it will facilitate the vaccine transportation, tomorrow it will continue to serve communities thanks to its versatility and easy (re)configuration.”

Tecnam produces light general aviation next-generation piston aircraft with two to 11 seats for commercial operators, special mission, flight schools and private owners.