Since the worldwide first vaccine flight that took off from Brussels Airport on 27 November 2020, more than 750 million vaccines have been shipped through the airport. Thanks to the expertise built up over many years and the specialised infrastructure, Brussels Airport is the most important European hub for vaccine shipments, with daily flights to more than 60 destinations worldwide.
“I’m very proud that we can yet again live up to our role as the most important pharmaceutical hub in Europe and that we can make an important contribution in this pandemic. Thanks to our many years of experience and ongoing investments in the handling and shipment of pharmaceuticals, we are able, together with our partners, to support the vaccination programmes worldwide. And we continue our efforts, day after day, to guarantee a streamlined and safe chain for these essential transports. From the very first flight with Covid vaccines one year ago to the shipments that we now handle daily, together with our cargo partners we guarantee smooth transport in the best possible conditions,” says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.
For more than ten years, Brussels Airport has been specialised in the transport of pharmaceutical products and offers the optimum infrastructure for temperature-sensitive shipments. The airport has more than 35,000 m² of temperature-controlled warehousing specifically for pharmaceutical products, the largest area in Europe, specialised Airside Pharma Transporters for transport on the tarmac, and the largest number of pharma-certified companies under the IATA CEIV programme.
The partners in the airport’s cargo department have thoroughly prepared themselves in the BRUcare Taskforce for all possible scenarios and requirements for vaccine transport. The very first flight with COVID vaccines worldwide left from Brussels Airport to the United States on 27 November 2020. One year later, more than 750 million Covid-19 vaccines have been handled at the airport.
There are daily flights with Covid-19 vaccines from Brussels Airport to more than 60 countries worldwide. The most important destinations are Japan and the United States. The most important airlines responsible for the vaccine transport are DHL Express, United Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, TUI fly, Singapore Airlines, TAP, Iberia, Lufthansa cargo, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways. The vaccines transported are those of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Until now, more than 750 million vaccines have been handled at Brussels Airport, more than half a billion for export and more than 200 million for import. In addition to import and export, Brussels Airport also plays its role as a hub for transfer flights from Asia to destinations including South America and Africa (with Sinovac and Sinopharm). Flights have also been operated within the COVAX programme of the World Health Organisation with vaccine donations from member states of the European union to African destinations.