A new logistics service offering air freight to the pharmaceutical industry worldwide will be introduced by Qatar Airways Cargo from this month as it inaugurates its first new route of 2015 to the Swiss city of Basel.
The new ‘Pharma Express’ offering is the first of its kind in the industry and will offer air freight solutions to the pharmaceutical industry as it links the two key European pharma cities of Brussels and Basel with the rest of the globe via its own and Qatar Airways' passenger network, via its Hamad International Airport hub in Doha.
Basel has a huge pharmaceutical industry and is home to the headquarters of many major pharmaceutical companies, while the Swiss chemical industry also operates largely from Basel. Brussels and the region of Flanders in Belgium, house 146 life science companies with biotech activities, of which 50 are related to healthcare, 46 are active in the bio-based economy and 50 are life science providers.
The new ‘Pharma Express’ route will see an Airbus A330-200F operate between Brussels and Basel and then on to Doha on a twice weekly basis from January 28, 2015 with flights every Wednesday and Saturday.
“The pharmaceutical industry is witnessing rapid growth each year, and with the rising demand there is the need to ensure that pharmaceuticals and healthcare products are transported with the utmost care while avoiding any temperature fluctuations,” said Ulrich Ogiermann, chief officer cargo, Qatar Airways.
“By investing in sophisticated technology and a team of highly qualified staff, Qatar Airways Cargo can now offer healthcare companies and their logistic partners a state-of-the-art service for shipping temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals all over the world, while maintaining the integrity and quality of their products throughout the supply chain,” he added.
In January last year, Qatar Airways Cargo had launched ‘QR Pharma’ – an air freight service for pharmaceutical and healthcare products. QR Pharma offers both, active and passive solutions. The active solution provides temperature-controlled containers, which are designed to maintain a constant temperature throughout the entire transportation chain, and the passive solution keeps the product within a defined temperature band at all stages of the journey.
Qatar Airways Goes Direct to Sofia
Meanwhile, the Qatar Airways passenger operation continues its 2015 expansion programme across Europe with the launch of new direct flights from its Hamad International Airport base to Sofia, enhancing connectivity to the Bulgarian capital city from the end of March 2015.
The airline currently serves Sofia via Bucharest in neighbouring Romania, but the route will now be split with a direct link into Bulgaria from Doha. This aircraft will continue its journey on to Belgrade before returning to Doha, although flight schedules suggest the Sofia – Belgrade sector will operate as just an extension of the route from/to Doha from the end of October 2015 when the winter schedules take effect.
“Qatar Airways is expanding rapidly, not only in terms of new destinations and our network offering, but also with the service we offer,” said His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer, Qatar Airways Group.
Alongside the new direct Sofia service, Qatar Airways is also increasing frequencies between Doha and Ankara, which will be served by a six weekly services instead of five from March 1, 2015, while capacity will also increase to and from Zagreb with an additional direct flight per week, increasing the frequency from four to five weekly rotations.