The Nordic carrier aims at achieving the IATA CEIV certification of independent validators – to become the first licensed carrier worldwide. This goes hand in hand with a huge investment program in the fleet and ground infrastructure at Helsinki Vantaa Airport. Plans to tie up operations with IAG Cargo give opportunities for improved network coverage.
Antti Kuusenmäki is a man who talks straight. In regards to pharma and other temperature critical items transported by jetliners he blames the air freight industry as such and particularly their
lobbies for having failed to set firm standards for the airlines when handling and uplifting these goods. Because of this negligence and omission, “air cargo is inevitably losing market shares to
integrators and even ocean freight,” regrets Finnair’s head of cargo.
A trend he hopes to stop or even reverse by becoming the first cargo carrier having achieved a license in the comprehensive IATA training and pharmaceutical freight certification program, the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV). As things stand Finnair Cargo will be granted this very soon, “within the first half of this year,” announces Antti. “In fact, we are in the final stage after having spent a lot of time and energy to maximize and standardize this particular service, listening to the client’s needs, speaking with customs authorities, airports and ground handling agents.”
He expects the CEIV Pharma Certification to develop into a “big differentiator” in the airline landscape, fast separating the pros from the amateurs. Which not only applies to airlines but airports as well, with those attracting the cool business that have been IATA licensed. As is with Brussels Zaventem Airport which has become the first ever CEIV Pharma certified location, including local ground handlers and forwarding agents which benefit from being part of the program.
According to manager Kuusenmäki even Finnair’s pilots have been specially pharma trained. “They were motivated to act according to the procedures to keep a constant temperature in the holds of the passenger aircraft as required for the goods,” Antti explains. “They have been informed about the specific requirements of this sensitive product range and told that we intend to deliver to our clients what we have promised.” An essential prerequisite for enabling IATA set transport standards for pharmaceuticals is the installation of climatized zones in the lower deck compartments of the jetliners.
Largest investment ever
This also accounts for 19 brand new A350s that the Helsinki-based airline will receive. The carrier’s fleet enhancement program, a state-of-the-art warehouse to be built at Finnair at Vantaa Airport plus investing major funds in additional aircraft stands at the airline’s home base results in “the biggest investment program in our long lasting history, amounting to 1.9 billion euros,” states Antti.
Closing in on IAG Cargo
Further, Antti said that Finnair Cargo is keen on deepening the cooperation with IAG Cargo. “This would offer us additional opportunities on transatlantic routes where IAG Cargo is extremely strong,” states Antti. Conversely, Finnair operates a widespread network between northern Europe and the Far East. “Their routes and our network complement each other, which is beneficial for all partners when jointly transporting cargo. Thanks to IAG Cargo's Partner Plus program, “we are able to offer confirmed bookings on each others' metal as well as uplift guarantee, so that program makes the interlining far more attractive than the typical interlines in the cargo industry,” states the manager.