Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has launched Pharma Champions, a development programme to enhance pharmaceutical transportation expertise and customer service. Developed as a strategic initiative, Pharma Champions is aligned with Etihad Cargo's long-term plans and the implementation of the carrier's cool chain masterplan, which was launched in 2020 to form the foundation of Etihad Cargo's shared vision with Abu Dhabi to further establish the emirate as a global pharmaceutical and life sciences hub.
In recent years, Etihad Cargo has made significant improvements to its cool chain products offering, including network, operations and processes. The carrier has implemented a rigorous quality programme emphasising training and development, continuous improvement and adherence to high standards across the organisation. Demonstrating this commitment to quality, the carrier achieved IATA CEIV Pharma recertification in 2022 and is one of only 44 airlines to hold the certification globally. Pharma Champions was developed in full compliance with IATA CEIV Pharma guidelines and enhances Etihad Cargo's capabilities to deliver consistent standards while transporting this critical cargo via the carrier's PharmaLife product.
PharmaLife, Etihad Cargo's award-winning pharmaceutical shipment solution, has achieved significant year-on-year growth. In the last 12 months, Etihad Cargo has recorded a 49 per cent increase in pharmaceutical and life sciences products tonnage compared to the previous year. To meet the increasing demand for both +15 to +25°C Controlled Room Temperature (CRT) and +2 to +8°C Cool Storage (COL) segments, Etihad Cargo has focused on continuous improvement, product enhancements and expanding the carrier's network, which now serves over 62 destinations worldwide. To strengthen connections between Abu Dhabi and the rest of the world, Etihad Cargo has developed over 1,330 IATA CEIV Pharma and GDP-certified trade lanes, ensuring product integrity during transportation.
Pharma Champions was developed proactively by Etihad Cargo's business development, learning and development, and operations support teams to enhance local expertise, benefiting the carrier's customers and partners with improved service levels. The programme comprises online and onsite training, a visit to Etihad Cargo's dedicated pharmaceutical hub and the development of a dedicated PharmaLife action plan, giving participants the tools to add additional value to current partnerships, more effectively identify new business opportunities and ensure Etihad Cargo's PharmaLife product is delivered in full compliance with rigorous international standards.
"Etihad Cargo has developed and launched Pharma Champions to enhance the carrier's capabilities in transporting high-value, temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals across its global network," said Tim Isik, Vice President Commercial at Etihad Cargo.
"In addition to giving participants — Etihad Cargo's Pharma Champions — a more in-depth understanding of PharmaLife's key features, the programme facilitates the development of a tailored PharmaLife action plan that will enable the champions to provide customer service excellence, enhanced customer response times and expertise within their regions. These Pharma Champions are an integral part of Etihad Cargo's cool chain strategy and operations for the coming years and will act as focal contact points in the carrier's key PharmaLife markets. This will enable Etihad Cargo to enhance regional knowledge hubs, mitigating the challenges of operating across multiple time zones and ensuring the carrier can respond to customer enquiries more quickly and efficiently."
Pharma Champions is the latest step taken by Etihad Cargo to expand the carrier's specialised pharmaceutical transportation capabilities. It complements the addition of new features launched in recent months, such as the introduction of new dedicated thermal blankets in Etihad Cargo's key pharma markets. The carrier has also invested in infrastructure to support Abu Dhabi's vision to become a global pharmaceutical and life sciences hub, including the commissioning of a state-of-the-art 3,300-square-metre cool chain facility at Abu Dhabi Airport. Established in partnership with Etihad Airport Services Cargo and Abu Dhabi Airports, the new facility will double Etihad Cargo's cool chain capacity to carry and accommodate an additional 50,000 tonnes of cool chain commodities.