Envirotainer being loaded into a British Airways aircraft

All you need to know about Constant Climate – your FAQs

Looking for a cold chain partner for your temperature-sensitive shipments? Get the inside track on our facilities, quality management systems, Covid-19 handling and more.

Where are IAG Cargo Constant Climate centres?  

London Heathrow’s Premia hub opened in 2013 and offers temperature control in chambers ranging from 2-8°C and 15-25°C. We were the first air cargo carrier at London Heathrow to be WDA-licensed.

Dublin is our 2-8°C and 15-25°C temperature-controlled facility in Ireland. It’s GDP-certified under the Irish Exporters Association GDP passport programme, and thanks to our extensive network with Aer Lingus, the Irish market for IAG Cargo is globally significant.

At our Madrid hub, we move 250,000 tonnes of cargo every year. The facility is GDP-certified and functions as our gateway into Latin Americathe hub is invaluable. IAG Cargo offers an airbridge between London and Madrid, providing strong connectivity to the 700 flights per week out of the Spanish capital.

The following infographics offer an in-depth look at how pharmaceutical freight travels through our cold chain facilities at London Heathrow and Madrid.

Which shippers have used IAG Cargo’s Constant Climate service?

We are used by some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and global health authorities, such as AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, Roche, Bayer, Sanofi, as well as the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

What are IAG Cargo’s quality assurance practices?

Besides GDP-certification at each of our facilities, we are compliant with IATA’s Temperature Control Regulations. We ensure quality by demonstrating continuous investment in our people. We have a training team that educates our staff and GHAs in the GDP-handling pharmaceuticals. We have a documented process for handling Constant Climate shipments, conduct annual audits and risk assessments at our network stations through our certified team of Responsible Persons who oversee our quality management systems, and support local operating procedures at each of our 107 Constant Climate stations. We have a “right first time” approach, ensuring that we deliver pure, potent and stable medicines to the end user.

What are CAPAs and how can shippers avoid them?

CAPA stands for Corrective Action Preventative Action. They’re used as part of our improvement process. The main reasons a shipment may experience a CAPA are:

Inappropriate packaging or no packaging solution

Some shippers may opt to use thermal blankets as passive packaging, though this is not considered a robust solution by IATA. Thermal blankets tend to cover the top and sides of a shipment but not the bottom, which means the shipment is vulnerable to tarmac transfer exposure. You can avoid this by choosing the right passive packaging or active solutions.

Dwell time at destination vs passive packaging solution

There are some destinations where shipments are kept airside longer than a passive packaging solution’s lifespan. In these instances, it’s worth bearing in mind the end destination and the packaging lifespan or opting for an active solution.

Tarmac transfer exposure

Whilst we’ve mitigated against this risk in Madrid with a fleet of 8 specialist temperature-controlled trucks, at no extra cost to our customers, the same can’t be guaranteed for every network station. An appropriate packaging solution can mitigate the risk of tarmac transfer exposure for your shipment’s journey.

What has IAG Cargo learned from our handling of Covid-19?

We’ve seen therapeutics come to the fore, such as antivirals Remdesivir, which is FDA-approved and used in the USA, Dexamethasone (an anti-inflammatory treatment) used by the NHS in the UK, and antibody treatments such as convalescent blood plasma. We have moved testing kits, which have been pivotal to rooting out and suppressing the virus worldwide, alongside clinical trials, some dedicated to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Looking ahead and to the ongoing vaccine research, if we expect its longevity to be around a year, as in the case of the flu vaccine, then we can expect to see consistent shipments year-on-year of Covid-related vaccines. Therapeutics will increase and widen in their variety, as will testing kits and future vaccines, and as ever we continue to move life-saving vaccines each year including for polio, tetanus, rotavirus, Hepatitis B, diptheria, and small pox.

Watch IAG Cargo’s Constant Climate product and approach to Covid-19 webinar:

Book your next pharmaceutical shipment as Constant Climate.