WFS and Air Canada Join Forces to Support Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign

WFS’ team of pharma specialists use temperature-controlled pallets, containers, dollies and trailers to carefully prepare the shipments and load them onboard Air Canada flights to Montreal.

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) and Air Canada are working closely with the Canadian government to transport vial caps for doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to support the country’s immunization program.

Since December 2020, thousands of innovative plastic RayDyLyo vial caps, which are manufactured by ARaymondlife, a French pharmaceutical company with expertise in plastic processing. The caps weigh more than 20 tonnes have so far been transported by WFS from Lyon Airport to its €10 million Pharma Centre at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. To ensure these essential vaccine components are maintained at the correct temperature, they travel between Lyon and Paris using WFS’ temperature-controlled, GDP-certified (Good Distribution Practice) pharma trucks.

In Paris, WFS’ team of pharma specialists then use temperature-controlled pallets, containers, dollies and trailers to carefully prepare the shipments and load them onboard Air Canada flights to Montreal. Once in Canada, the all-plastic push-fit caps are retrieved by the Public Health Agency of Canada, based in Ottawa, where they are being used in the manufacture and capping of vaccines for the local population.

“WFS is proud to be working with Air Canada to support the Canadian government’s vaccination campaign. Our specialist teams in Lyon and Paris understand the importance of these shipments for the Canadian population, and the need to adhere to the highest standards of compliance to safeguard product integrity,” said Benjamin Bonte, acting manager pharma at the WFS Centre in Paris. “Our fleet of temperature-controlled pharma trucks and IATA CEIV and GDP-certified Pharma Centre mean WFS is fully equipped to support the temperature-controlled service requirements of clients such as Air Canada, safely moving shipments from the French provinces to Paris CDG Airport to be transported internationally,” he added.

“It is absolutely vital for an airline to establish a strong partnership with its handler. Trust, professionalism and appropriate facilities are the key words of this relationship,” said Loïc Marie, cargo operations manager France, Spain and Portugal – Air Canada. “Air Canada and WFS in France have combined their respective expertise in the transportation of pharmaceutical products on behalf of the Canadian government. We win as one,” he said.

To ensure these vial caps are maintained in the best conditions, the WFS team in Lyon conduct security screening using dual-view x-ray technology, allowing shipments to be monitored from separate angles in just one scan. The vial caps are then stored in special 15-25°C temperature rooms dedicated to pharma products before being transported to Paris. Shipments are continuing on a weekly basis.

In support of its airline clients’ pharma shipments, in December 2020 WFS launched a new temperature-controlled trucking service from the French regions to Paris. The specialist trucks are positioned in Lyon as well as Bordeaux, Mulhouse and Strasbourg, and are capable of transporting 23 Euro pallets in 2-8°C and 15-25°C temperature environments.