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MADRID: April 12, 2017. IAG Cargo has officially launched a weekly freighter service between Basel and Madrid to feed its Latin America network with Swiss pharma traffic.

The B757-200 aircraft with a capacity of 29,000 kgs is operated by Madrid-based Cygnus Air every Sunday on a round trip between Spain and Switzerland. The service is designed to leverage the belly capacity of Iberia's 400 flights a week to 32 destinations in Central and South America.

Cygnus AirAccording to the Swiss Federal Customs Administration, Switzerland's pharma and chemical sector was the country's highest export earner in 2016 at US$94.billion, or 44.8 percent of a record export total of US$209.6 billion.

Machinery took second place at US$30.8 billion or 14.7 percent, followed by watches at US$18.8 billion or 9.2 percent of the total.

Overall the chemicals and pharma industry grew a record 11 percent or US$9.6 billion in 2016, as shipments of medicinal products rose by 19 percent or US$6.0 billion by value, pharmaceutical active principles by 15 percent or US$1.78 billion; and immunological products 8.0 percent or US$1.88 billion.

Commenting on the new freighter service, IAG commercial director David Shepherd said his company has a flexible network investment strategy in order to respond as quickly as possible to customer demand: "Our latest freighter service underlines our commitment to giving our customers the capacity and routes they need, and further highlights the strength of our industry-leading pharmaceuticals proposition," he said.

During the two-month trial that began in January, IAG noted that 74 percent of the export traffic from Switzerland was shipped via its Constant Climate product designed for temperature-sensitive drugs.

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