22 February 2021
It was the most nerve-racking hour in Captain Hamdan Che Ismail’s (pic) 29-year career in the aviation industry as he navigated flight MH604 carrying the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from Singapore to Malaysia.
Besides flying the plane, Hamdan needed to ensure that the correct temperature was maintained in the aircraft at all times so as not to affect the effectiveness of the vaccines, which must be stored at -70ºC.
The Malaysia Airlines flight operations director admitted that he was a little nervous about the task.
“When I thought about the Covid-19 vaccine supply on the plane, I was worried that it (the supply) could get spoilt.
“Alhamdulillah, the vaccine supply has now reached Malaysia, ” said the pilot after landing the plane at the KL International Airport yesterday.
Carrying 312,390 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, Flight MH604 landed at KLIA at 10.07am.
The Passenger-to-Cargo flight operated by MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd (MASKargo) – the cargo arm of national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd – used an Airbus 330-300 decorated with the Jalur Gemilang livery.
Hamdan said he and five other crew members – an assistant pilot, two cabin crew, an officer from MASKargo and an engineer – arrived in Singapore an hour after leaving for the republic at 6am.
According to him, it took about two hours to transfer the Covid-19 vaccines onboard before it was allowed to take off again at about 9am.
“When I arrived at KLIA, I felt jubilant, overwhelmed and excited to have successfully brought the Covid-19 vaccines to the country, ” he added. — Bernama