When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, Changi Airport had to transform into frontline battle stations overnight, even as passenger traffic and aircraft movements plummeted. The airport community had to rise to the challenge to protect the health and safety of its staff and passengers.
To document the stories behind the greatest battle of the airport’s history, Changi Airport Group (CAG) worked with National Geographic Asia on a 45-minute documentary, “Changi Airport: Battling The Pandemic”. Starting from the arrival of the vaccinations in December 2020, the video traces the various events that took place in the airport up till April 2022, featuring the people who kept Changi Airport flying during the pandemic.
The documentary took more than one year to produce, with over 150 hours of interviews and filming, about two months of post-production, made possible with the support of CAG’s airport partners.
Here are some stories that were featured in the documentary.
The turning point: Arrival of the life-saving vaccines
When mRNA vaccines were first announced, transportation became a huge challenge for the air cargo community as these vaccines had to be moved via an unbroken cold chain – refrigerated, from the time it is manufactured until it is administered while passing through different hands, across different lands. To prepare for this, the Changi Ready Taskforce, co-led by CAG and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, was set up. New processes had to be introduced, such as the carrying of dry ice in-flight.
The production team captured footage of the whole process of transporting the mRNA vaccines, from how the cargo is offloaded from the aircraft, transported to a cool dolly (a mobile temperature-controlled storage container), moved to the warehouse, and onto trucks – while ensuring controlled-temperature is achieved throughout.