Finnair Cargo achieved two important milestones last week: The carrier laid the cornerstone of its new Cool Nordic Cargo (CNC) facility at Helsinki Airport and officially become the first airline to earn certification of its cool-chain operations via IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical program, a.k.a. CEIV-Pharma.
The €80 million CNC facility, once completed at Finnair’s main Helsinki hub in April 2017, will include a temperature-controlled, 3,000-square-meter area for the handling of pharmaceuticals, plus a separate, 3,500-square-meter section for the handling of various perishable foodstuffs.
The new 31,000-square-meter building is expected to double Finnair Cargo’s current terminal capacity to 450,000 tonnes of airfreight per year, and accommodate the parent airline’s order of A350 XWB widebodies, which should begin arriving starting at the end of this year and continuing into 2020. The CNC will also have the option to expand its capacity by another 100,000 tonnes per year and 10,000 square feet of warehouse space, if needed.
Finnair was also one of the pioneering supply-chain companies that took part in last year’s initial CEIV-Pharma certification program, held at Brussels Airport, which is Finnair Cargo’s second air hub. During the training, Finnair Cargo handlers were shown how delicate, high-value products, such as vaccines and biotech medicines, must maintain a constant low temperature throughout the shipping process and can be ruined by any variation above or below a few degrees.
To mark the technological changes that are expected in the industry over the next few years, the Finnair officials at the cornerstone ceremony also buried several items a time capsule, one of which was a paper air waybill (AWB). One hopes the electronic AWB will have become the industry standard by the time the capsule is re-opened.