Quality care with Emirates SkyPharma

Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, 5th left, leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Emirates SkyPharma, the company’s latest cargo project.

DUBAI: Emirates has unveiled its new 4,000-sqm cool storage facility at Dubai International Airport, signaling its intent to seriously break into the $13 trillion global life sciences and pharmaceutical industry projected to further grow annually by 25 percent.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, told the media at the September 18 launching of Emirates SkyCargo’s new purpose-built facility dedicated exclusively to the timely and secure transport of temperature sensitive pharmaceutical shipments, the project is a long-term investment with good intentions.

“We have to think about the future,” Sheikh Ahmed said about the company’s investment to SkyPharma, part of the Dh600 million expansion of Emirates cargo facility named SkyCentral at Dubai’s airport. “It’s not about today. It’s not about this year.”

SkyPharma features temperature controlled zones (2 to 8 degree Celsius and 15- 25 degree Celsius), 88 temperature-controlled Individual positions in the automated ULD (aircraft pallet) handling system and five temperature-controlled acceptance and delivery truck docks, Emirates SkyCargo said.

Quality Care

Bureau Veritas, a trusted world leader in testing and certification founded in 1828, awarded Emirates SkyCargo with the certification of compliance under the EU Good Distribution Practice Guidelines (GDP) for medicinal products for human.

Ahmad Chaouk, vice president/ deputy regional chief executive for Middle East Region of Bureau Veritas, said Emirates SkyCargo, the largest international airline cargo operator in the world, got the certification following an audit recommendation by a team from Germany.

This makes it the first cargo airline in the world that has obtained GDP certification for its hub operations covering two airports and the 24/7 bonded trucking service that connects cargo between them.

Chaouk told Air Cargo Update the GDP certification means Emirates is complying with the international regulations in transporting only reliable and genuine pharmaceuticals, thus, helping in the ongoing drive against counterfeit drugs.

“Emirates was already transporting pharmaceutical products. The GDP means its traceability system is in line with the European Union and complying with international regulations, thus, help curb the distribution of counterfeit drugs which are dangerous,” Chaouk said in an interview.

Apart from its state-of-the-art facilities, SkyPharma also boasts of innovations like the White Container, which is coated on the inside with thermal insulators to counteract high temperatures in Dubai and preserve sensitive cargo, the Emirates SkyCargo Cool Dolly—a special piece of equipment that transports cargo from the aircraft to cool storage areas while maintaining temperatures of as low as -20 degrees centigrade, among others.

Global Commitment

Chaouk said Emirates SkyPharma would help more people get access to medications that they need.

Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President for Cargo, noted: “As a leader in the global air cargo industry, we decided that it was not only important for us to build state-of-the-art cool chain facilities for the transport of pharma products but to also go the extra mile and ensure the compliance of our operations against the highest international standards.”

Pharmaceutical products only account for 6 percent of products shipped via Emirates SkyCargo right now but Sultan is optimistic for growth in the coming months or years.