Brussels Airport hits 1bn vaccine handling milestone

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Photo: Brussels Airport

One billion Covid-19 vaccines have passed through Brussels Airport since the first vaccine shipments from the pharma airfreight hub in November 2020.

Shipments include 750m exports, 250m imports and millions more in transfers, said the airport.

Every day, vaccine flights take off to more than 60 countries around the world, with Japan and the US being the two main destinations.

Many airlines are involved in these transports: United Airlines, DHL Express, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, TUI fly, Singapore Airlines, TAP, Iberia, Lufthansa Cargo, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways.

Logistics partners, including Expeditors, DHL Global Forwarding and Kuehne+Nagel, are also important to ensure these shipments run smoothly and safely.

In addition to Covid vaccines, Brussels Airport has recently started shipping Covid pills. While the transport process is quite similar to that of vaccines, the pills are even more sensitive to temperature variations.

‘We are proud to pass the milestone of one billion vaccines transported via Brussels Airport,” said Arnaud Feist, chief executive officer of Brussels Airport.

“We have been contributing to the fight against Covid and supporting vaccination programmes around the world since the first vaccine flight operated in November 2020.”

Brussels Airport has more than 35,000 m2 of temperature-controlled warehouses in its cargo area, enabling it to meet the needs and specifics of pharmaceutical products that are highly sensitive to temperature variations.

The airport is also the driving force behind the development of the “Airside Pharma Transporter” – a mobile “refrigerator” that circulates between the warehouses and the aircraft. The transporter was developed as part of the Flanders Pharma Hub Project, in collaboration with the partners of BRUcargo.

Brussels Airport said received expert support from its cargo partners in the BRUCure Taskforce, many of whom are certified in the pharmaceutical sector under the IATA CEIV programme, and to the collaboration with Air Cargo Belgium.

Almost 10% of the total volume of goods handled at Brussels Airport consists of pharmaceuticals.

Last year, plans were announced to establish a pharma air corridor between Abu Dhabi and Brussels airports 

Pharma air corridor links Middle East and Europe

Brussels air cargo throughput soars in January

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