Virgin Atlantic Cargo has been granted a Wholesale Distribution Authorisation (WDA) for its global headquarters operations and its new Pharma Zone at Heathrow Airport, confirming compliance with Good Distribution Practice (GDP).
WDA was established by the UK Government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), working closely with the European regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA). The MHRA also collaborates with other international regulators, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s WDA accreditation for its VHQ global headquarters follows its handling partner dnata also gaining WDA for its Cargo Point operation at Heathrow, which incorporates the Pharma Zone, shared by Virgin Atlantic and its joint venture partner, Delta Cargo.
This latest enhancement of Virgin Atlantic’s products and services for pharmaceuticals and life science shipments is expected to lead to further growth in volumes, which rose by over 20 per cent in 2017. In January, the airline also increased the range of active containers it offers for temperature-controlled cargoes by becoming the first UK airline to approve the use of CSafe’s new RAP unit.
Alongside new facilities and equipment, Virgin’s network connecting major international pharma markets is the other key factor boosting its share of pharma volumes. Through its JV with Delta Cargo, the carrier now offers almost a quarter of all transatlantic cargo capacity, the busiest global lane for pharma shipments. Virgin serves a total of 11 US destinations, offering direct services to the UK and fast connections into Europe. Demand is also up for pharma services to India and China.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo managing director, Dominic Kennedy said: “The standards and requirements for everyone involved in the transportation of pharmaceuticals and life science products set out clear guidelines of what is expected of airlines serving customers in this growing market. We have been listening to our customers and responding to what they want.
“Wholesale Distribution Authorisation (WDA) was the regulatory compliance they asked us to achieve and now we meet their requirements at both our global headquarters and Pharma Zone. We can measure our customers’ approval by the increasing pharma bookings they are giving us. We are confident 2018 will be a record year for our pharma and life science business as customers commit to airlines like Virgin which are delivering tangible benefits.”