New Cargo Handling Facility at Heathrow

31st May 2023

Logistics BusinessNew Cargo Handling Facility at Heathrow

IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG) today celebrates the official opening of its new cargo handling facility, New Premia at key international hub, London Heathrow.

New Premia will serve as IAG Cargo’s new home for handling premium loose shipments, enabling double the amount of cargo to be managed daily. To accommodate this increase in cargo handling capacity, significant focus has been given to designing bespoke IT systems and systems integration to regulate freight movements and allocations inside the facility.

The facility has been designed to handle more cargo for customers as efficiently as possible, with 11 new landside doors, meaning even faster engagement for drivers to collect or drop off cargo. The temperature-controlled building includes a state-of-the-art Constant Climate Quality Centre (CCQC) for pharmaceuticals, with 29 dedicated cool cells and temperature facilities available from +2°C to +8°C (COL), +15°C to +25°C (CRT) and -20°C (FRO) ensuring sensitive shipments are held in a temperature-controlled environment at all times. Additionally, the +15°C to +25°C (CRT) chamber includes two dedicated break and build workstations. The new facility is certified under IAG Cargo’s Good Distribution Practice (GDP) WDA licence issued by the UK Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency.

Operationally, four large ‘transfer vehicles’ have been introduced which service the 20 new workstations. These vehicles pass through rapid-rise doors allowing cargo to be moved autonomously through the facility and into storage in advance of collection and delivery to the aircraft for exports and similarly the process works in reverse for imports. This process uses ground-breaking technology as the system is fully integrated with IAG Cargo’s existing Warehouse Management System – which is the first time globally that this integration has been delivered.

David Shepherd, Chief Executive Officer at IAG Cargo said: “The opening of New Premia is a pivotal milestone for IAG Cargo – the benefits it will bring both to our customers and our operational teams is huge. We strive to provide the best service for our customers and the investment into our IT systems will improve our operational performance, optimising the movement of cargo to support global trade. I’m proud of the entire team that have made it possible to officially launch today – it represents a truly exciting time for us as a business. I look forward to seeing New Premia now run at its full potential.”

Investment into learning and development remains key at IAG Cargo and to prepare for New Premia opening and the transition to the new model, IAG Cargo staff have received targeted training over the last 18 months and this training continues as normal operations takes place at the facility. New roles have also been created such as six new Planning Managers, who work closely with the Operations Duty Manager and are fundamental in delivering the day-to-day operations.