Cargolux is transporting whales for the SeaLife Trust

Live animal shipments are an increasing area of interest for airline and forwarders. While growth is expected to be 3-4%, yields can be good – but good service is critical. 

For airlines, the key is the treatment of animals and their handlers. IATA has begun a CEIV programme to ensure standards, but many carriers have eschewed this in favour of working with specialists, or charities, to set their own standards.  

However, forwarders say the real key to choosing an airline is its network – animals don’t like to be kept waiting in lounges, however nice the lounge. The aim is to deliver them as quickly as possible, with few stops, and easy-to-access border inspection posts at destination. 

Pet movements are also becoming big business – and the first area in which the cargo side of passenger carriers work in a B2C environment. Airlines like passengers that travel with their pets, but the reputational risk if something goes wrong can be high. That has led to the banning of many specialist breeds of cats and dogs on airlines, ones which can struggle with air travel. 

This latest Loadstar LongRead looks at the trends and stories in animal transport – Koreans going off dog meat; Cargolux’s Beluga whale transport; the problematic heat from pigs; a week in the life of a groom – and the technical knowhow and preparation involved. And it examines what carriers and airports have been doing to try to capture this vulnerable traffic. 


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