“We’re expecting the first, limited transports at the end of October,” says Nathan De Valck, responsible for air freight activities at Brussels Airport. “When transporting vaccines by air, speed and constant temperature conditions are crucial. Our main asset at Brussels Airport is that we have 30,000 square meters of temperature-controlled pharmaceutical warehouses, the most of any European airport. Our expertise and experience also contribute to our top-notch position in this field: we transport tens of thousands of tons of vaccines every year.”
As such, Brussels Airport shares in the success of Flanders’ leading pharma cluster, which includes Europe’s first-ever vaccinopolis and branches of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, two pharma giants who are developing candidate COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, no less than a quarter of the 100 logistics service providers at Brussels Airport specialize in handling pharmaceuticals.
“What’s more,” De Valck adds, “we are the first airport to have developed a large fleet of Airside Pharma Transporters. These allow us to safely transport vaccines across the airport tarmac in a temperature-controlled way, from the refrigerated warehouses to the airplane. They run on batteries and are equipped with solar panels and cooling units. Sensors monitor the temperature in real time. If something goes wrong, an alarm will go off. This distinct offering sets us apart from other airports.”