Vienna Airport and Lufthansa Cargo launch pharma co-operation

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The Vienna Airport Pharma Handling Center (VPHC) at Vienna Airport now also handles pharma freight for Lufthansa Cargo. As part of a cooperation between the Lufthansa Group’s cargo subsidiary and Vienna Airport, the handling of all pharma cargo transported on board Austrian Airlines aircraft to or from Vienna Airport will take place at the VPHC from now on. With the VPHC, Vienna Airport operates its own GDP-certified competence center for handling temperature-sensitive air cargo without interrupting the cold chain. The VPHC will further strengthen Vienna Airport’s role as a pharma hub for Central and Eastern Europe with Lufthansa Cargo’s intercontinental network. Freight volumes here have grown significantly in recent years.

Lufthansa Cargo, the group subsidiary responsible for freight in the Lufthansa Group, is also responsible for the cargo business of Austrian Airlines. On board its passenger aircraft, the Austrian flag carrier also distributes transport goods in an extensive intercontinental network as belly cargo, including pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other temperature-sensitive goods.

The cooperation further establishes Vienna Airport as a strong pharma hub for Central and Eastern Europe. Austria’s most important international airport has significantly increased its tonnages in this area. The airport’s own pharma handling center handled around 15% more goods in 2021 than in 2020, with growth of more than 66% compared to the pre-crisis year of 2019. In addition to ongoing uncertainties of ground-based global supply chains, the internationalisation of pharmaceutical productions also continues to drive this trend.

By linking the intercontinental air cargo capacities of Austrian Airlines to the capabilities of the VPHC, Vienna Airport is well prepared for further growth in this sector. State-of-the-art facilities for handling and storing temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and GDP certification ensure optimal processes at the VPHC, handled by a specialized pharma team and monitored by comprehensive temperature control systems.

Two large refrigerated warehouses offer storage facilities for temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (150 square metres) and 15 to 25 degrees (1600 square metres). Mobile refrigeration equipment also provides a seamless link between the air and land sides for temperature-sensitive products. Regular and closely timed road feeder services at Vienna Airport also enable fast distribution via the European road network. Thanks to the geographically advantageous positions in Europe, pharma shipments from Vienna can reach 23 countries within 36 hours.

“In the field of life-saving and temperature-sensitive pharma logistics, Lufthansa Cargo provides the fastest possible and most secure handling and deliveries worldwide. Essential for this are the highest quality standards, seamless cold chains and documentation as well as customized solutions for each customer. With the Vienna Pharma Handling Center, we have gained an important cooperation partner in order to be able to offer our high standards for pharma airfreight at Vienna Airport,” says Theresa Schlederer, director sales and handling Austria at Lufthansa Cargo AG.

“As a hub also for medical goods, our Vienna Airport Pharma Handling Centre proved its crisis safety and reliability during the Corona period. Even spontaneous charter flights with short times to prepare but high tonnage were handled quickly and smoothly at all times. The fact that Lufthansa Cargo, one of the world’s largest air freight companies, has decided to have its pharmaceutical shipments handled by us is confirmation of our high quality and further strengthens Vienna Airport as a pharma hub for Central and Eastern Europe,” says Michael Zach, vice president sales and finance, ground handling and cargo operations at Vienna Airport.