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Putting pharmaceuticals back in the air

The transportation of temperature controlled and time-sensitive products, including vaccines, must meet pharmaceutical manufacturers' requirements.

IATA is taking a leading role in supporting aviation’s compliance efforts through its CEIV Pharma program. Building a network of certified pharmaceutical trade lanes that meet consistent standards and assure product integrity will help air cargo to better serve this important market.

CEIV Whitepaper: Excellence Beyond Compliance

Learn how to embrace best practice in critical cargo shipments with the IATA CEIV.

Setting new standards

Working alongside aviation industry stakeholders and regulators, IATA created the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma), to help organizations and the entire air cargo supply chain to get on the right track to achieve pharmaceutical handling excellence.

CEIV Pharma addresses industry’s need for more safety, security, compliance and efficiency, by the creation of a globally consistent and recognized pharmaceutical product handling certification.

See our CEIV Pharma infographic (pdf)

By establishing a common baseline from existing regulations and standards, this certification ensures international and national compliance to safeguard product integrity while addressing specific air cargo needs.

CEIV Pharma encompasses, or even supersedes, many of the existing pharmaceutical standards and guidelines such as:

CEIV Trade Lane Certification

A CEIV trade lane is a general classification of any transport-related activities between two defined countries. A trade lane is CEIV Pharma/Live Animals/Fresh certified if the origin and destination is being linked by CEIV certified transport companies (such as an airline, ground handler, freight forwarder or a trucking company), throughout each stage of the journey from origin to destination (i.e. at no point is the shipment handled or transferred to a non-CEIV certified entity or a subcontracted entity not under the strict SLAs established under the CEIV certification process).

It is also important to note that a company, such as an airline, is not CEIV certified for its network (including all online stations) unless all their stations went through the certification and/or Ground Service Providers have obtained CEIV Certification.

An industry-wide standard

Transporting and handling pharmaceuticals present both challenges and opportunities for all cold chain industry participants.

The business relies on air transport for its speed, consistency and efficiency in delivering high-value, time-sensitive, temperature-controlled products.

However, aviation industry stakeholders must overcome big challenges, such as insufficient expertise, inadequate infrastructure, ill-equipped facilities, and increased regulations, as they strive to provide the high-quality services pharmaceutical shippers expect.

CEIV Pharma ensures that facilities, equipment, operations and staff comply with all applicable standards, regulations and guidelines expected from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The overall goal is to elevate the industry know-how and achieve global standardization.

Gaining momentum

This certification is conducted on a voluntary basis and today over 380 assessments were conducted, over 300 companies have been certified and/or recertified at different locations around the globe. There are 92+ ongoing certifications and recertifications.

Six shippers in Belgium and two in Spain have given their formal support to the CEIV Pharma program. In addition, the Belgian regulator FAGG – AFMPS have formally endorsed the CEIV pharma program.

Certified companies

The list of all certified companies are available in IATA ONE Source. 

IATA ONE Source is the industry platform for validated aviation capability and infrastructure information. Find the right business partner for your needs, from specific infrastructure requirements such as temperature-controlled rooms to IATA certifications. The platform makes it easier for you to find the right services where you need them.

Guidance for Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Logistics & Distribution (5th ed.)

IATA collaborates with leading authorities and organizations to facilitate full preparedness for COVID-19 vaccines transportation. This document summarizes the considerations to be taken into account for large-scale handling, air transport and distribution of vaccines. 


To get more information on what CEIV Pharma is, its benefits and how to be come certified, please, read the documentation below.

Pharma training

We offer a broad and diverse number of courses on handling pharmaceutical products:

Interested in becoming CEIV Pharma certified?