AAI seeks 2.5 acres in Pune; airports and airlines prepare to be hubs for distribution

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is close to finalising an arrangement with the Indian Air Force to receive 2.5 acres of land adjacent to Pune airport, to be utilised for the transport of vaccines from the facilities of vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India nearby.

“The transfer of the land, which is currently owned by the IAF, to Pune airport has been a longstanding demand of the AAI. They have asked for a land exchange, and AAI has finalised the plan for this,” a senior government official said.

“The airport management is also constantly in discussions with Serum Institute to understand the requirements, because a significant amount of freight is expected to go out from Pune,” the official said.

Pune-based Serum, the world’s largest maker of vaccines by number of doses, has been licensed by Oxford-AstraZeneca to test, manufacture, and distribute its vaccine against the novel coronavirus in India.

As the country moves closer to rolling out its Covid-19 vaccination programme, airports and logistics players are working to ensure it happens seamlessly — by expanding cold chain facilities and setting up computerised trucking slots for more efficient redistribution from airports. Officials said they believed vaccination could begin next month.

While Pune will be one of the hubs for the distribution of domestically-manufactured vaccines, the bulk of the vaccine consignment will be imported through major international airports including…

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