Virgin and Delta open joint Pharma Zone at Heathrow Airport


Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo today launched a new Pharma Zone at their joint facility at London Heathrow Airport.

This is the first joint venture cargo between the UK and the US, which is the world’s biggest trade lane for pharmaceuticals.

The Pharma Zone will support the growing volumes of temperature-controlled healthcare and life science products being carried by both and enhances their ability to meet the strict quality and service requirements of pharmaceutical companies and their freight forwarding partners.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo manager of products and partnerships, Darren Sherlock says: “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 US 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.”

The Pharma Zone features walk-in pods capable of maintaining 2-8°C (COL) and 15-25°C (CRT) temperature ranges for loose pharma shipments. Above the floor of the Pharma Zone for added security is a temperature-controlled storage system for 24 pallets, split into six 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.

Delta Cargo vice president, Shawn Cole says: “This dedicated pharma facility at London Heathrow is an important addition to our global pharma network and, most importantly, provides our customers and pharmaceutical manufacturers access to another major international gateway.

“Delta Cargo has successfully achieved CEIV certification in Atlanta and for Delta’s headquarters. Over the next year we aim to add our other key hubs to the network, starting with New York-JFK and Los Angeles.

“This network, combined with the promise of speed, consistency and efficiency in delivering high-value, time-sensitive, temperature-controlled products right across the network really is a first for the Delta Cargo and Virgin Atlantic Cargo joint venture.”

Virgin Atlantic Cargo managing director, Dominic Kennedy adds: “Our pharma tonnage grew by 20 per cent 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.”