Ground-handling giant Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) and Swiss WorldCargo, the airfreight division of Swiss International Air Lines, opened the first Good Distribution Practice-certified pharmaceutical facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
The GDP certification, awarded for JFK’s Building 66, assure that the facility conforms with quality standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) for handling pharmaceutical and life–science products.
Earning the certification came “in response to growing customer demand for high–quality, standardized pharma handling,” said Michael Simpson, executive vice president of WFS’ Americas division. “We will continue to expand our network of certified facilities, adding to our current list of JFK and Miami in the Americas as well as multiple locations in Europe.”
The GDP cert includes the establishment of a “Pharmaceutical Handling Quality Manual” and a quality management system at Building 66, along with dedicated cooler facilities, and the training in special products handling for a team of personnel. WFS also invested in a new cooler for the 1,000–square-foot pharma facility.
WFS has also signed a 15-year lease on a new, 346,000–square–foot cargo terminal at JFK, which will have a throughput capacity of over 300,000 tonnes per year, when it opens in 2020/21. The temperature-controlled facility “will offer improved cargo flows and reduced transfer times, shorter truck waiting times and incorporate the latest security and screening systems and procedures,” WFS said.
Michael Ganz, head of the Northeast/Midwest USA and Canada divisions for Swiss WorldCargo, said the GDP designation at JFK “allows us to offer additional quality corridors to our pharma and healthcare customers.”
In 2018, Swiss WorldCargo received a global CEIV-Pharma certification via IATA, which ensures that the company adheres to the highest standards of pharmaceutical handling. The airline operates three daily flights from Zurich (ZRH) and Geneva (GVA) to JFK.