Brussels Airport - Success is in the air for EU pharma gateway in Brussels

How has Brussels Airport increased the volume of pharmaceuticals it handles?

Nathan de Valck: Becoming a successful pharmaceutical and life sciences gateway starts by offering a reliable and transparent service - no matter the shipment. This can only be achieved by engaging stakeholders and delivering added value for shippers. Listening to the expectations of pharmaceutical shippers has always been a priority for us. Brussels Airport, therefore, organises regular shipping forums, where we actively involve pharmaceutical manufacturers in improving handling processes at the airport. Our track record in leading pharmaceutical-handling projects exemplifies how flexible the airport community is when it comes to taking on customer feedback. All of this is helping the business, which saw the volume of pharmaceuticals that fly out of the airport increase by 36% over the past 18 months.

What is IATA 's new pharmaceutical certification and how is the airport meeting its requirements?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s certification programme aims to improve the handling of pharmaceutical cargo by upgrading, aligning and standardising global processes. IATA's Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) takes internationally binding requirements and implements these into a globally recognised programme.

During the past four years, we have taken several steps to make Brussels Airport the top pharmaceutical and life sciences gateway in Europe.

Brussels Airport became the world's first CEIV Pharmacertified airport, thus proving its commitment to handling pharmaceuticals quickly and safely. With 18 other local companies registered as well, our airport is the world's largest community of CEIV Pharma-certified companies.

Why is it so important to liaise with other airports to improve efficiency?

Establishing reliable pharmaceutical lanes is the next step in linking CEIV Pharma-certified airports together. Pharmaceutical shippers tell us that they expect air cargo players to help increase the reliability and transparency of transport by air. This is why we, together with Miami International Airport, launched Pharma.Aero, where all of the airport's members share the same vision of increasing efficiency and creating start-to-end pharmaceutical lanes.

Pharma.Aero members meet regularly to discuss practices and solutions that meet their shared goals; one of these is the implementation of temperature-controlled airside transport at every touchpoint. We expect our membership to grow to 25 by the end of 2017.

Can you outline why customers should choose Brussels Airport for pharmaceutical transport?

During the past four years, we have taken several steps to make Brussels Airport the top pharmaceutical and life sciences gateway in Europe. Our CEIV Pharma certification has given the airport global recognition, and rolling out temperaturecontrolled transport also proved to be successful.

These factors created a collaboration that started to use cool dollies throughout the transport process, which has improved pharmaceutical shipment handling and ensured an unbroken cold chain. Pharmaceutical shippers now have a guarantee that cargo moving through the airport will be handled safely and in a temperature-controlled supply chain, avoiding extreme temperatures from the moment the shipment arrives, right up until it leaves.

What is the next step for Brussels Airport?

The cargo community in the airport will continue to work on its preferred pharmaceutical gateway concept, in conjunction with Brussels' local partners.

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Brussels Airport Company
Auguste Reyerslaan 80, 1030
Brussels, Belgium
Tel: 0900 700 00 Email:

Air freight’s biggest asset is speed: the challenge is to prove that it is also a safe, reliable a transparent part of the pharmaceuticals supply chain.
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