Tecnam Aircraft Hosts Webinar with Industry Experts to Explore the Role of General Aviation in COVID Vaccine Distribution
Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam hosted a webinar with leading General Aviation (GA) organizations on March 30 to discuss the industry’s role in COVID vaccine distribution. The webinar revealed GA’s untapped potential in national crisis response and management.
The webinar, now available on YouTube, started with panelist introductions and a video presentation of Tecnam’s recently launched P2012 TRAVELCARE — a specialized aircraft solution for COVID vaccine transportation.
Panelists, moderated by Ian Seager, journalist at FLYER UK, then set the stage for discussion by outlining the main challenges COVID vaccine distribution systems face worldwide. These include the cold chain requirements, reaching remote areas, optimizing delivery times to fit the vaccines’ limited lifespan and selecting safe vaccination sites.
According to the Senior Vice President of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Ryan Waguespack, small aircraft like these have been instrumental in delivering COVID vaccines to remote areas, including small islands in Michigan, rural veteran communities in Montana and isolated households in Alaska.
Describing the US distribution system, President of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) Stanley Bernstein said that it was “almost business as usual” thanks to the country’s “very sophisticated supply chain.”
According to Disaster Response and International Development Expert at Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) Daniel Juzi, countries across Africa and South Asia have not been as reliant on small aircraft. Among the challenges these distribution systems have faced are the regulatory obstacles that inhibit private and NGO aircraft to participate. Juzi said that this is one of the reasons why most of these countries expect to receive vaccines “only in the latter half of 22 and into 23.”
The key insight that emerged from the webinar, however, was that General Aviation is currently underutilized as a tool in crisis response and management worldwide.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Vice President of European Affairs Kyle Martin said that most European governments do not see General Aviation as “a useful logistical tool in their toolbox.”
Editor In Chief at Future Aviation/Aerospace Workforce News Kathryn Creedy said:
“[W]e need to formalize the participation of General Aviation so that, in the future, if disasters happen or we have pandemics — which, in all probability we will […] — we can get those people moving in a much more formal manner. Government authorities, health authorities, need to know that this is a resource that they have, and that the General Aviation community will report before they are even asked. They are ready and willing to serve.”
The panelists agreed that increasing the role of General Aviation in crisis response and management, including COVID vaccine distribution as well as acting as an important resource in other natural disasters, will require joint action to educate governments, regional regulators and the public.
“The benefits [of GA] are numerous and that’s why GAMA is very proud to support the work that Tecnam’s doing here today and really showcasing the benefits that our industry can offer the world.”
Tecnam’s General Manager Giovanni Pascale Langer closed the webinar stating that “Tecnam is more than willing to invest even more in this subject.”
“Since the pandemic hit us, we have seen that everyone was playing [their] role. Today, we want to say out loud that General Aviation is here to do the same. We have the power to bring advantages and help where nobody else can,” said Pascale Langer.
Bernstein invited the panelists to continue to promote General Aviation as a valuable tool in crisis response and to reflect on their progress at RACCA’s next annual conference scheduled for October 26-28, 2021 in Arizona.
Tecnam Aircraft webinar panelists:
- Giovanni Pascale Langer, Managing Director
- Walter Da Costa, Chief Sales Officer
National Air Transportation Association (NATA) webinar panelist:
- Ryan Waguespack, Senior Vice President
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) webinar panelists:
- Kyle Martin, Vice President – European Affairs
- Cate Brancart, Manager, European Operations and Safety
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) webinar panelist:
- Daniel Juzi, Disaster Response and International Development
Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) webinar panelists:
- Stanley Bernstein, President
- Kathryn Creedy, Editor In Chief at Future Aviation/Aerospace Workforce News
Ian Seager, author at Flyer Magazine UK
Tecnam is an Italian aircraft manufacturer with a global network of dealers and service centers. The company produces light General Aviation next-generation piston aircraft with two to 11 seats for commercial operators, special mission, flight schools and private owners.