- Tecnam has unveiled a redesigned plane to help delivery COVID vaccines
- Called P2012 TravelCare, the plane features a massive freezer in the cargo area
- The freezer is capable of maintaining -122F and has room for 115,000 doses
- The firm says it is focusing on remote areas that have small runways
- PS2012 needs less than a 1,850-foot runway to safely land following a tripAs much of the US struggles with a slow roll out of the coronavirus vaccine, one Italian firm has found a way to avoid such delays – delivering doses by air.
Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam redesigned a passenger plane by removing the seats and replacing them with a massive freezer that maintains temperatures of -122 degrees Fahrenheit while in flight.
The plane, called P2012 TravelCare, is capable of transporting 115,000 doses in one trip and keeps them at -85 degrees for up to 12 hours once the system powers down for distribution.
Using this method, Tecnam says the cost to distribute each vaccination is lowered to just $0.005 per dose, per flight.
The plane can also land with less than a 1,850-foot runway – allowing the most secluded areas to receive coronavirus vaccinations.
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Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine needs to be kept at ultra-cold storage temperatures of up to -94 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it difficult for to transport to certain locations.
In addition, many remote areas only have small airports with even smaller runways made of dirt, which many commercial or cargo planes cannot safely land on.However, Tecnam has found a way to bypass these obstacles with its PS2021, which uses a massive freezer designed by ultra-freezer manufacturer DESMON.
Along with cutting down time, Tecnam says its method also cuts costs - Records show the transportation costs can go as high as $13.50 per vaccine, while by plane it is only $0.005 per dose, per flight.
Tecnam's Managing Director Giovanni Pascale Langer said: 'As the first vaccine breakthroughs were announced, we realized that the communities in remote areas would face delays in receiving help. 67% of European airports alone have runways shorter than 5,000ft, making them inaccessible to large aircraft.'
'We decided to act fast. P2012 TRAVELCARE was designed to facilitate equitable and efficient vaccine distribution. It is our contribution to the fight for a COVID-free world.'
Tecanm used an 11 passenger plane and had the internal seats removed to make room for the new technology.
The vaccine doses are stored in container that is placed in the cargo area for distribution.
Tecnam is using the P2012 because it is design with the ability of five different configurations and then easily put back to its original form.
And the plane is certified to travel in any type of weather, allowing for fast pickup from the main delivery hubs, as well as capillary distribution from main international airports to any small remote airfield or airstrip.
'The value of the P2012 platform will extend beyond this mission,' Langer said.
'Today, it will facilitate the vaccine transportation; tomorrow it will continue to serve communities as the platform can be reconfigured within less than an hour.'