Virgin Atlantic is muscling into the pharma air cargo business, but they are forging their own path, and opting to forego CEIV certification. In less than two years, the carrier has already doubled its share of the pharma market between the U.K. and North America, suggesting that its in-house Cool Chain product has the reputation to stand on its own.
Darren Sherlock, manager, products and partnerships said that the carrier is opting instead for a Wholesale Distribution Authority (WDA) license. “This demonstrates compliance with GDP guideline,
he explained, “so we are not currently considering IATA CEIV.”
Virgin’s push reflects an ongoing effort by carriers to court what is projected to be an increasingly important source of revenue in the years ahead. According to data compiled by Statista, the global pharmaceutical market is expected to grow from US$1.07 trillion in 2015 to 1.4 trillion in 2020. Virgin’s senior vice president of cargo John Lloyd expects U.S. to U.K. pharma to play a role, with that specific market forecast to grow by 7% a year through 2020.
Virgin Atlantic’s Cool Chain product supports passive shipments in the 15-25°C and 2-8°C ranges, and categorized shipments as ‘Just Ride’ and ‘Must Ride.’ Must Ride pharma shipments have priority access to capacity and a 100% money back guarantee. The carrier is also approved to carry temperature-controlled active cargo containers from CSafe and Envirotainer.
John Lloyd, senior vice president of cargo at Virgin Atlantic, emphasized that “pharmaceutical traffic is a fast-growing part of Virgin’s business.” He pointed out that the world’s largest global pharma market is transatlantic. With Virgin controlling 27 percent of cargo capacity to and from the US, Lloyd said, the airline is in a strong position to “give our customers the capacity, frequencies and service they need.”