GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the Food & Drug Administration gives the green light to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is prepared to serve as a national and international gateway for distribution.
The Ford Airport is the closest airport to Pfizer's Kalamazoo manufacturing operations with the infrastructure needed to support the transportation process. Ford Airport has a 10,000-foot runway, dedicated cargo facility, appropriate ground support and the capacity needed to stage and transport billions of doses of the vaccine, which must be kept at negative 94 Fahrenheit.
Airport officials have been in talks with four global carriers that have expressed interest in transporting the widely anticipated vaccine, which is seen as the beginning of the end of the global pandemic.
"We're here, we're ready to help and we're eager to get to work," said Torrance Richardson, president and CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. "We have invested in the infrastructure needed to accommodate the wide-body aircraft that will be used to transport the vaccine – and we have the team in place to handle the aggressive delivery schedule.
"Ford Airport is honored to be a key part of the distribution chain for Pfizer's life-saving vaccine. We often say our Airport is the gateway to the world – this gives us the opportunity to underscore that in an exceptionally meaningful way."
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ford Airport has taken a number of steps to make its guest experience as safe and comfortable as possible through its Fly Safe. Fly Ford. campaign. It also recently announced it will serve as a COVID-19 drive-up test site for guests and the community.