Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo launch new Pharma Zone at London Heathrow

Joint venture partners Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo are introducing a new Pharma Zone at their joint facility at London Heathrow Airport. The new Pharma Zone will support the growing volumes of temperature-controlled healthcare and life science products being carried by both airlines and enhance their ability to meet the strict quality and service requirements of pharmaceutical companies and their freight forwarding partners.

From October 2, 2017, the Pharma Zone, at their Cargo Point facility, will be operating a fully segregated area dedicated to handling and storing pharmaceutical shipments within a strictly regulated temperature environment with dedicated active container storage.

Darren Sherlock, Manager, Products & Partnerships at Virgin Atlantic Cargo, who has led the Pharma Zone project, said: “The opening of the Pharma Zone is the latest enhancement to the pharma products of both airlines. This has also recently seen Delta Cargo become the first U.S. global passenger carrier to gain IATA’s CEIV Pharma Logistics certification corporately and at its Atlanta operational hub, while Virgin Atlantic Cargo is on track to achieve Wholesale Distribution Authorisation (WDA) certification in the UK by the end of the year to confirm our GDP compliance. This reflects our joint commitment to delivering the correct level of service required for temperature-controlled pharma products at both origin and destination points across our networks.”

Incorporated into the new Pharma facility are two walk-in pods capable of maintaining 2-8°C (COL) and 15-25°C (CRT) temperature ranges for loose pharma shipments. High above the floor of the Pharma Zone for added security is a temperature-controlled storage system for 24 pallets, split into 6 separate chambers, each of which can be safely maintained within either a 2-8°C or 15-25°C temperature range. Other special features include a cargo door dedicated to pharma shipments to speed their flow through the warehouse and reduce the time products spend outside of a temperature controlled environment, and 10 charging points for Active cargo containers.

Good Distribution Practice (GDP) training has also been delivered to the team of specialists working in the Pharma Zone.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo now offer around 24% of the total cargo capacity between the U.K. and the United States, the world’s biggest trade lane for pharmaceutical products.

Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said: “Our pharma tonnage grew by 20% in the first half of 2017 and we expect this to increase as we continue to invest in, and develop, facilities like our new Pharma Zone as well as GDP processes and training across our network. In terms of our Pharma and Life Sciences offering, we believe our size, alongside direct Virgin oversight at every single station, gives us a real advantage in terms of the agility and flexibility we can offer and our growing volumes indicate our customers share this view. I also wish to acknowledge the strong commitment of dnata, our handling partner at Heathrow, for enabling us to deliver yet another significant benefit for our customers, who remain at the heart of everything we do.”