Air Canada Cargo continues to ensure that essential goods are safely transported around the world, including a life-saving piece of medical equipment travelling between Montreal and London, England.
Air Canada Cargo regularly transports radioactive material used in cancer treatments and takes numerous precautions to ensure that they are handled safely and in accordance with all applicable regulations. This particular unit recently transported posed an additional challenge, in part because of its size.
The equipment weighed over 4,000 kilograms and required the floor and walls of the hospital to be removed in order to get it out of the building. Also, because of the radioactive capsules stored inside this large machine, additional approvals were needed from various government agencies.
The machine is used to provide non-invasive surgery to treat conditions that affect the brain, head, and neck, including tumours and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The procedure, called stereotactic radiosurgery, consists of multiple beams that focus a high dose of radiation on a precise area. The sealed radioactive capsules inside the machine have a lifespan of 10 years, which means that they need to be replaced on a regular basis, and the machine is transported to a specialized medical location to facilitate this.
“Not every airline can safely transport these types of shipments, and we have the only direct flights with the approvals to carry it. Because Air Canada is able to transport it safely, the radioactive capsules can be replenished which will provide thousands of cancer treatments lasting another 10 years,” says Andy Rowan, Cargo Training Delivery Manager – Europe, Middle East, Asia and India.
This important shipment was transported on one of Air Canada’s recently reconfigured Airbus A330-300 all-cargo aircraft, with the heavy machine safely secured in its belly for the flight across the Atlantic Ocean.