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Variation Pharma®

The Variation Pharma program at Delta Cargo (Pharma) is designed to handle temperature sensitive shipments for the pharmaceutical industry, including biotechnology base materials, medical, blood samples, bulk drugs, and all other products requiring a temperature-controlled environment. With three tiers to meet your specific temperature needs, the Pharma program is designed for safe and reliable transport of temperature sensitive goods.

Product and Rates

Variation Pharma 1 (CON) - Designed for shipments transported in active cooling containers, such as the Envirotainer or CSafe, requiring strict temperature control above +5°C. This solution is ideal for vaccines, prescription drugs, raw materials for drug manufacturing, laboratory reagents, serum, plasma, and biotechnology products. Frozen shipments are prohibited on Delta. The follow container types are accepted for transport:

  • CSafe AcuTemp® RKN*
  • Envirotainer RKN-t2
  • Envirotainer RAP-t2
  • PharmaPort 360


 *Delta's handling procedures require that the CSafe units are built and secured on an airline pallet (maximum of 2 units per pallet) in accordance with all internal and external regulatory requirements.

Variation Pharma 2 (MEC) - Designed for shipments which are required to be kept between +2°C and + 8°C. This is a solution for medicines in tablet or aerosol form, raw materials for drug manufacturing, and biotechnology products. Our industry leading Cool Chain facilities in Atlanta provide even greater visibility and care for shipments transiting through our biggest hub.

Variation Pharma 3 (PIL) - Pharmaceuticals requiring protection against extreme temperatures fall under the Pharma 3 tier, which has a temperature range of +2°C to +25°C. This is a solution designed for some generic prescription drugs, some biotechnology products, and other pharmaceutical shipments requiring general temperature protection.

Variation Pharma 4 (RMT) – Pharmaceuticals requiring to be kept between +15°C to +25°C. This solution is for those commodities that need to be shipped at room temperature, which are often prescription drugs, some biotechnology products, and other pharmaceutical shipments requiring general temperature protection.

See our shipping guide and rates.

Specialized Services

Pharma 1 is designed for shipments transported in active cooling containers requiring strict temperature control at or above °5C. Our closed cool chain service provides precise temperature management with the following active cooling containers: Envirotainer® RKN-t2, RAP-t2.  CSafe AcuTemp RKN and PharmaPort 360 and CLD**. Delta Cargo is proud to offer leasing for Envirotainers.

Pharma 2 is the solution for products requiring a temperature controlled environment between +2°C and +8°C. Designed for shipments packaged in insulated boxes with dry ice, Pharma 2 shipments are stored in our advanced cooler facilities throughout the world when not in flight.

Pharma 3 protects products that are sensitive to extreme temperatures, but may not require the strict temperature control of our other Pharma products. When not in flight, products are kept away from extremes at temperatures between+2°C and +25°C.

Pharma 4 is the solution for products that need to be kept at room temperature. When not in flight, products are kept away from extremes at temperatures between +15°C to +25°C.

Pharma Network

Pharma 1 and Pharma 2 shipments must be accepted at least 180 minutes prior to the scheduled flight departure. Pharma 3 and Pharma 4 shipments must be accepted at least 240 minutes prior to scheduled flight departure. Acceptance starts after the air waybill and all Delta and government mandated inspections have been completed.

Below is a list of Pharma approved stations around the globe:

U.S. EMEIA Asia Pacific Latin
Atlanta (ATL)* Amsterdam (AMS) * Bangkok (BKK) Bogota (BOG)
Chicago (ORD) Barcelona (BCN) * Beijing (PEK)  Brasilia (BSB)
Cincinnati (CVG) Brussels (BRU) * Hong Kong (HKG) Buenos Aires (EZE)
Detroit (DTW) Dublin (DUB)  Incheon (ICN) Guatemala (GUA)
Los Angeles (LAX) Frankfurt (FRA) Osaka (KIX) Lima (LIM)
Memphis (MEM) Johannesburg (JNB) Nagoya (NGO) Rio de Janeiro (GIG)
Minneapolis (MSP)* London Heathrow (LHR) Shanghai (PVG) San Jose (SJO)
New York City (JFK) Madrid (MAD) * Singapore (SIN) Santiago (SCL)
Portland (PDX) Manchester (MAN) Sydney (SYD) Sao Paulo (GRU)
Seattle (SEA) Milan (MXP) Taipei (TPE)
San Francisco (SFO) Mumbai (BOM) Tokyo (NRT)
San Juan (SJU) Paris (CDG)
Prague (PRG)    
  Rome (FCO)    
  Stuttgart (STR)    
  Tel Aviv (TLV)    
  Zurich (ZRH)    
*Only stations available for Variation Pharma 4

In-Route Monitoring

Delta Cargo will consistently monitor battery voltages and container temperatures for Pharma 1 shipments while in transit.

Globally Growing Network

Our Pharma service is offered around the globe in 47 stations, making the transportation of your product as convenient as possible.

Priority Boarding

Pharma enjoys priority boarding and quick connection times to minimize exposure to outside temperatures.