UAE — Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, is preparing to expand its pharmaceutical cold chain facility in collaboration with Etihad Airport Services and Abu Dhabi Airports.

The facility, which is set to open soon, would enhance pharmaceutical handling and storage at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

Etihad said the launch of the expanded, dedicated pharmaceutical hub will double Abu Dhabi Airport’s cool chain storage capacity and enhance the airport’s capabilities for the storage, handling, and transportation of cool chain products.

Etihad Cargo transported over 50,000 tonnes of cool chain products in the past twelve months, including pharmaceutical and healthcare products via its PharmaLife product, prior to the opening of the new pharmaceutical facility at the carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub.

The opening of the new, dedicated pharmaceutical hub will quadruple Abu Dhabi Airport’s cool chain storage capacity and improve the airport’s capabilities for cool chain storage, processing, and transportation.

According to Etihad, the additional 3,000-sqm facility will feature the latest technology and features, including bulk loading docks with levelers, high-speed roll-up shutters, insulation, and a real-time temperature monitoring system.

The new facility will also feature new X-ray screening for customs inspections within a fully temperature-controlled environment and new dedicated thermal covers.

The new cool chain facility will enable the safe storage and handling of a wide range of pharmaceutical items that require different temperatures and conditions.

Premium customized solutions

PharmaLife provides premium customized solutions to manage temperature-controlled settings ranging from -80 to 25 degrees Celsius through the carrier’s array of leased active and hybrid containers in order to meet the standards for transporting dangerous products in frozen and deep-frozen conditions.

Etihad Cargo also employs standard-temperature containers with temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.

Etihad Cargo will continue to work closely with customers and partners from the newly established pharmaceuticals hub to ensure the smooth, efficient, safe, and on-time delivery of pharmaceuticals and life sciences products.

Etihad Cargo is investigating the use of artificial intelligence to improve forecasting and automation to enhance the carrier’s current capacity and capabilities in order to meet the demands of personalized medication and treatment, including cell and gene therapies.


Etihad Cargo will also invest in sustainable solutions to make pharmaceutical transportation more environmentally friendly through the expanded cool chain facility, in line with Etihad Aviation Group’s sustainability plans and pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The carrier has already replaced 3,000 containers from its original aluminum unit load device (ULD) fleet with a lighter, more environmentally friendly version.

Etihad Cargo recently signed an agreement with B Medical Systems to develop and launch the world’s first airline-specific passive temperature-controlled container.

The airline said it will be participating in Pharma.Aero’s green pharma lane project in the coming months, expanding on the successful launch of Pharma Corridor 2.0.

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