A SWISS Airbus A340 flew 14 tons of COVID-19 vaccines from Zurich to São Paulo. The aircraft touched down in Brazil with the vaccines on December 18th after flying them in from Beijing.
SWISS flies in COVID-19 vaccines to Brazil
LX96 took off from Zurich en route to São Paulo on the evening of December 17th. Onboard the aircraft were 14 tons of finished COVID-19 vaccines, which arrived in Brazil in the morning on December 18th. The shipment previously made its way to Zurich from Beijing.
The forwarding partner, PGL Brazil, worked with Swiss WorldCargo to carry out the shipment on behalf of the Brazilian Butantan Institute. Also, greeting the aircraft were prominent government officials, including the Governor of São Paulo, João Doria.
The total shipment carried close to two million doses of the vaccine. Recently, SWISS WorldCargo also began focusing on flying the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine on this flight was carried in ten Envirotainer RAP-e2 containers. This kept the temperature of the vaccine consistently cooled at 2-8°C (36-46°F).
Over the past few months, SWISS has focused on rebuilding its route network and flying as much cargo as possible. The airline is offering cargo-only flights across the globe.
São Paulo is an important city in SWISS’ route map. In fact, it is the only city that the airline serves in South America. However, previously, SWISS flew its longest flight ever to Santiago, Chile, which SWISS also has flown recently as cargo-only flights.
Currently, SWISS Is flying a Boeing 777-300ER between São Paulo and Zurich. The Boeing 777-300ER is the largest aircraft in the SWISS fleet by passenger capacity and flies some of its most important routes. Simple Flying got a chance to fly the 777-300ER in SWISS’ business class last year.
For this flight, SWISS ran a flight that was separate from its traditional schedules with 777-300ERs. The flight was operated with an Airbus A340-300 registered as HB-JMA, according to data from Flightradar24.
HB-JMA is a 17-year-old Airbus A340-300. According to data from Planespotters.net, SWISS has five Airbus A340-300s in its fleet. These aircraft are currently flying to several of SWISS’ long-haul destinations, including Montreal, Mumbai, Newark, Chicago, Boston, Shanghai, and others.
The Airbus A340-300s seat 223 passengers in a three-class configuration. This includes eight passengers in first class, 47 in business class, and 168 in economy.
SWISS just finished a refurbishment of its Airbus A340s in January. The airline is one of a few that are still flying the quad jets, as other airlines have retired the type. SAS is one such airline, and Lufthansa has retired its A340-600 fleet while hanging onto the Airbus A340-300s for just a little longer.
Are you glad to see SWISS fly these nearly two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to São Paulo, Brazil? Let us know in the comments!