Vienna Pharma Handling Center

Early 2016 – An ambitious airport in a dynamic region

Vienna Airport (VIE) had ambitious plans to expand its position as the freight hub for Eastern and South Eastern Europe. The Austrian region hosts several international pharmaceutical producers, but VIE’s Cargo Handling department did not offer exclusive pharmaceutical solutions such as strict temperature monitoring. Business Acceleration was asked to conduct a feasibility study for the development of a dedicated Pharma Handling Center at the airport.


Feasibility Study – Thumbs up

Our six-week research consisted of two parts. A quantitative study of historic and forecasted pharmaceutical cargo flows to, from and through Vienna Airport and qualitative interviews with regional stakeholders (airlines, forwarders and pharma producers). The study showed that pharma volumes to and from Vienna and its catchment area were substantial and expected to grow above market average. However, the lack of temperature specific handling capabilities at Vienna Airport forced pharma shippers to look for alternative transport solutions. We learned that a large part of the pharmaceutical flows was bypassing Vienna Airport. We recommended to establish a dedicated pharma facility close to the aircraft parking stands, offering pharma solutions in two main temperature zones (Cool: 2-8°C and Controlled Room Temperature: 15-25°C).


January 2017 – Call to action

VIE Ground Handling management had become very confident that a pharma center was the right way forward. Their next question of course was, ‘what, where and how exactly?’.

A project team was created, and we were asked to support the team in areas such as building specifications, customer requirements, process mapping, marketing, performance reporting, benchmarking and general project management. Different options at the airport were studied and the dimensions of the building determined. In October 2017 green light was given to implement at the best possible location: with air- and landside connections, directly at the apron with very short tarmac distance to the aircraft positioning area and next to general cargo handling.


2018 – Pharma gateway to/from Eastern and South Eastern Europe

Whilst the facility was being build, the focus and our support shifted to the processes, auditing, marketing and interaction with future customers. The pharma team grew, regional stakeholders provided great input and audits were passed. VIE Ground Handling is a high-quality full-service provider and pharma was to be no exception. A new facility with state-of-the-art equipment, processes and systems came to life. Even offering a cool trailer service to safeguard the transport from the aircraft to the Pharma Handling Center.


On the 11th of December 2018 the Vienna Pharma Handling Center (VPHC) became officially open for business. It offers 24/7 temperature controlled (cold and room temperature) pharma handling, storage and build-up in a ±1.750 m2 purpose build facility. We are very proud that we contributed to this valuable investment for the region.



Congratulations to Julian Jäger, Judith Engel, Wolfgang Scheibenpflug, Wolfgang Fasching, Franz Spitzer, Sabine Petera, Christian Strobach, San Yoon Lee, Peter de Leeuw and all the other supporters of the VPHC for opening the pharma gateway to Eastern and South Eastern Europe!

This is a link to the coverage of the opening ceremony on Austrian TV (in German).

Interested in more pharma news? This is a link about our takeaways from the LogiPharma conference in Montreux.

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