SEPANG, Feb 21 — It was the most nerve-racking hour in Captain Hamdan Che Ismail’s 29-year career in the aviation industry, as he navigated flight MH604 carrying the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from Singapore to Malaysia today.

Besides flying the plane, Hamdan also needed to ensure 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 -70 degrees Celsius.

The Malaysia Airlines flight operations director admitted he was a little nervous about today’s 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,” the pilot told Bernama after landing the plane.

Flight MH604, which carried 312,390 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 10.07am.

The Passenger-to-Cargo (P2C) flight operated by MAB Kargo Sdn Bhd (MASKargo) which is the cargo arm of national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd, used an Airbus 330-300 aircraft decorated with the ‘Jalur Gemilang’ livery.

Hamdan said he and five other crew members of the flight, namely an assistant pilot, two cabin crew, an officer from MASKargo and an engineer, left for Singapore at 6 am today, and arrived there an hour later.

According to him, it took about two hours to transfer the Covid-19 vaccines onto the aircraft before it was allowed to take off again at about 9 am.

“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