February 22, 2021
COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is a critical link in the movement of domestic and international air cargo. Our airport provides a vital link between suppliers, ecommerce companies, local manufacturers and businesses to their markets.
As an essential service, air cargo through SEA has been keeping goods flowing in and out of the Pacific Northwest since the onset of the pandemic. That includes carriers moving shipments of needed medical supplies like personal protective equipment, masks and ventilators into our region. A COVID-19 vaccine is the next step.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has spent months preparing and planning for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. Shipments started arriving this week.
According to the DOH, the federal government has given our state an initial estimated 62,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with a future allocation n coming by the end of December to total around 222,000 doses. Additionally, DOH anticipates about 183,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of December. Regular weekly shipments should begin in January.
The COVID-19 vaccine must be stored and shipped at incredibly low temperatures, about 94 degrees below zero. News reports shared that Pfizer developed shipping containers using dry ice and GPS-enabled sensors to ensure each shipment ships cold, arrives cold, and stays cold.
While passenger volumes dramatically slowed this year, domestic air cargo is a bright spot of activity — up 14.4 percent in 2020 compared to last year.
Last year, a total of 453,549 metric tons of air cargo moved through SEA — that’s the equivalent weight of almost one million grand pianos..
We are ready for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and will provide the needed support to the air carriers and ground handling agents. Next stops for this precious cargo are 17 vaccination sites across 13 counties in the state.
We are in great shape and ready to do more.
SEA cargo shipments already include a high volume of pharmaceuticals because of the life sciences, biotech, and healthcare hub in our region. Pharmaceutical products were a top-five export at SEA in 2019 by value, totaling $425 million.
Cargo is a huge part of our local economy. An estimated $12.7 billion worth of international air freight is exported through SEA each year, while another $13.6 billion is imported.
Air cargo economic data
SEA cargo facilities highlights
February 22, 2021
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