On Sunday, American Airlines flew its very first flight carrying shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines, whose final destination would be a U.S. territory in the Caribbean, were flown from Chicago (ORD) to Miami (MIA) onboard a Boeing 777-200. American has joined a number of other airlines in the effort to distribute the newly authorized vaccine throughout the country.
After departing Pfizer's Michigan facility, the vaccines were driven to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to be loaded onboard the aircraft. They continued onto MIA, then to the Caribbean. When asked to comment about the distribution of the vaccine, American's cargo president, Jessica Tyler, said the following: "The American team is proud to be a part of the critical effort to get lifesaving vaccine safely and quickly to people around the world. We were able to mobilize within hours of getting the call to move thousands of doses. We know this is the first of many shipments to come, and we are ready to scale our operation as additional vaccine is produced and ready for distribution." This statement demonstrates American's preparedness and readiness to distribute more vaccines as the need grows.
The flight, operated as AA275, left ORD in the evening, and arrived at MIA late at night. While the ORD-MIA route is very popular and flown numerous times a day, this was the flight operated by a 777. During non-COVID circumstances, there are plenty of international routes saved for wide bodies such as the 777; However, in the times of COVID, American has many of these aircraft sitting on the ramp, waiting to be flown. Flights as important as these are the perfect fit for these planes, and it is expected that American will utilize them more and more often as distribution continues.
It's safe to say that American was well prepared for these flights, because as early as November, the airline began test flights on aircraft, simulating the conditions needed for these flights to be successful. These flights included stress tests on equipment, as well as on the aircraft. American has also prepared for the distribution by creating teams, all with different assignments that will make the distribution as smooth and fast as possible.
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