In a recent announcement, Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, highlighted three milestones related to its pharma-handling capabilities.

The airline is continuing to invest in pharma-handling facilities, as well as working towards expanding its pharma corridor network.


With over 75,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals flown across the world during the Financial Year 2018/19, Emirates SkyCargo is one of the leading international players in the air transportation of pharmaceuticals. Over the years, the freight division of Emirates has strengthened its capabilities to transport temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals from origin to destination. The air cargo carrier has marked three important milestones as it continues to enhance its offerings to pharmaceutical manufacturers and freight forwarders.

Chicago pharma facility received GDP certification:

Earlier this year, Emirates SkyCargo established a pharma cargo-handling center at Chicago Airport. Since its launch, the facility has handled nearly 6,900 tonnes of pharma cargo.

The facility, which measures 1,000 sq m and has a total capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year for pharma cargo, recently got certified as compliant to EU GDP guidelines by SGS, a certification services company.

Emirates SkyCargo’s Chicago pharma facility, developed in partnership with ground handler Maestro, has a total capacity of close to 15,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals per year and offers a pharma corridor temperature-controlled zones for acceptance and delivery, pharma cargo build-up and break down, storage and direct ramp access. Since its launch, the facility has handled close to 6900 tonnes of pharma.

Copenhagen operations shifted to GDP-certified facility:

Emirates SkyCargo has moved its pharma-handling operations in Copenhagen to a GDP-certified facility for pharma products developed by WFS. The change in location means that pharma-handling requirements, such as precise temperature regulation and avoiding contamination with other kinds of cargo like foods, can be met.

In addition, the airline is strategically expanding its pharma network. Henrik Ambak, senior vice president, cargo operations worldwide, Emirates, explained: “We have done this by adding more relevant pharma origin and destination stations to the [pharma corridors] initiative and we have expanded it to 25 stations globally from the 12 we started with initially.”

 State-of-the-art pharma infrastructure in Dubai:

Emirates SkyCargo has GDP-certified pharma-handling facilities at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central, which amounts to more than 8,600 sq m. The airline also operates 50 Emirates Pharma Cool Dollies, which provide temperature regulation for pharma cargo being transported from the aircraft to the terminal. In addition, thanks to a partnership with DuPont, Emirates SkyCargo is now using thermal “Emirates White Cover” blankets to protect temperature-sensitive pharma shipments.

Emirates SkyCargo connects cargo customers to over 150 cities across six continents. Its cargo hold capacity comprises Emirates’ fleet of more than 265 aircraft, as well as 12 freighters.

During the last financial year, Emirates SkyCargo processed nearly 2.7 m tonnes of cargo.

State of the art infrastructure in Dubai:

Emirates SkyCargo operates more than 8,600 sq. meters of GDP certified space dedicated to the combined handling of pharmaceutical products at Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central. The carrier also operates a fleet of close to 50 dedicated Emirates Pharma Cool Dollies which provide temperature protection on the ramp when cargo is being moved between the aircraft and the terminal. Through a partnership with DuPont, Emirates SkyCargo has rolled out a set of innovative thermal blankets called the Emirates White Cover which also provides the first level of protection against external temperature fluctuations for cargo.

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