Basle’s two-minute cross-border cargo dash

Basal/Basle Airport Swissport warehouse and temperature-controlled facility

Cargo managers at Basle airport, the joint French and Swiss airport, continue to put on one of the fasting loading operations for pharma and cool chain goods from airport warehousing to aircraft interior.

Pelleted goods and ULDs leave the 7,500 sq m temperature-controlled facility and transit some 100 metres of apron to the waiting freighter aircraft on the two-aircraft stand, before being lifted by recently acquired state-of-the-art scissor lifts.

Facility management company Swissport aim for a “two-minute” timing from the facility to aircraft interior. During an official visit by cargo press, shippers and Swissport officials this week, a time of 1’50” was achieved. Sources tell Air Cargo Week the best has been one-minute-thirty seconds.


What makes this achievement even more unlikely is that the cargo must cross an international border from the warehouse to the aircraft.

The facility, opened in 2015 is technically in Switzerland, while the apron is French territory.

Non-perishable or non-pharma cargo must go from warehouse to apron via a French Customs post where it undergoes full and time-consuming security checks.
Pharma goes through a special, dedicated and guarded gate in the border fence allowing it to be moved directly to the waiting aircraft.

During the special visit, a Qatar Airways A330 arrived from London Stansted en route for Doha, stopping at Basle for 90 minutes to collect cargo.