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Pharma Corridor between Hong Kong and Brussels Airport Assures Handling Quality for Temperature-sensitive Pharmaceuticals


(HONG KONG, 7 January 2019) – Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and Brussels Airport today announced the launch of an airport-to-airport (A2A) pharma corridor, offering services catering to the specific needs of pharmaceutical shipments. Spearheaded by the two airports and in collaboration with Pharma.Aero, the initiative aims to pioneer service offerings and standards that provide assurance in handling quality of the temperature-sensitive pharma products.

Both HKIA and Brussels Airport have attained the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) Certification by community approach, which guarantees that airport cargo service providers adhere to high standards in handling pharmaceutical shipments. To offer a seamless, temperature-controlled transportation, all cargo terminals provide temperature-controlled storage and cool dollies are also available for apron transportation.

The pharma corridor connects the two airports and pharmaceutical shipments travelling the corridor will be handled in strict compliance with the IATA’s CEIV Pharma standard and carried by CEIV Pharma-certified airline. Shippers will be assured of seamless A2A temperature-controlled handling and provided with handling information, hence assuring the integrity of the shipments. In collaboration with Pharma.Aero and with the participation of pharma shippers, key performance indicators will be defined, targeting to set A2A pharma handling standards.

Alaina Shum, General Manager, Aviation Logistics of Airport Authority Hong Kong, said, “We are pleased to collaborate with Brussels Airport, Europe’s key air cargo hub for handling pharmaceutical shipments to establish this A2A pharma corridor. It marks another milestone in our continuous endeavours to make HKIA a preferred pharmaceutical transshipment hub and to strengthen our status as the world’s busiest cargo airport. Moreover, to ensure airport-wide seamless temperature-controlled handling, we are taking delivery of 19 additional cool dollies for common-use by the airlines, meaning that all airlines will always have the option to deploy cool dollies for their temperature-sensitive shipments.  We are also building apron shelters to protect the pharmaceutical shipments from direct weather elements.”

“Our aim is to grow the volume of pharmaceutical shipments at Brussels Airport by focusing on quality and transparency,” said Steven Polmans, Head of Cargo and Logistics for Brussels Airport. “From the beginning, we have reached out to shippers and manufacturers to understand their requirements and work with them and the rest of our cargo community. We have been focusing on improving processes, finding innovative solutions and effectively implementing various projects. With Pharma.Aero, our focus has expanded to cover end-to-end and lane solutions. This cooperation with HKIA for a dedicated pharma lane is a first but important step in creating specialised, dedicated pharma corridors. Our pharma volumes between Brussels and Hong Kong as well as the rest of Asia and Australia are significant, so this improved solution for our customers is being welcomed by the market very much.”

“We have received great support from our members including pharmaceuticals companies MSD and Pfizer to participate in this pharma corridor project. Their participation will help to validate the services and key performance indices of the A2A pharma corridor, making sure it provides all pharmaceuticals shippers the genuine value and peace of mind.” said Frank Van Gelder, Secretary General of Pharma.Aero.

After this pioneering launch, the initiative will be propagated to other Pharma.Aero member airports to form a network of pharma corridors. Pharma shippers will then have a network to cover their trade lanes which meet their shipping needs. 

About Hong Kong International Airport

HKIA is one of the busiest airports in the world in terms of both passenger and cargo throughput, with approximately 120 airlines serving over 220 global destinations. In 2017, HKIA handled 72.9 million passengers, making it the world’s third-busiest international passenger airport. HKIA has also been the world’s busiest cargo airport for eight consecutive years, which handled more than 5 million tonnes of cargo and airmail, becoming the first airport in the world to reach this milestone.

About Brussels Airport  

Brussels Airport, with 24.8 million passengers and 720,000 tonnes of freight transport per year, is one of the most important airports in Europe. Brussels Airport connects the European capital with 238 destinations. 76 airlines are active at the airport. Brussels Airport meets the specific requirements of business travellers and holidaymakers for both European and long-haul flights. The airport is the second-most important economic growth pool in Belgium, accounting for 60,000 direct and indirect jobs.

About Pharma.Aero

Pharma.Aero is a cross-industry collaboration for pharma shippers, CEIV-certified cargo communities, airport operators and other air cargo industry stakeholders. It aims to achieve excellence in reliable, end-to-end air transportation for pharma shippers by fostering collaboration between CEIV-certified airport communities that are dedicated to developing and leading in the handling of pharmaceuticals.

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