Monday, May 20, 2024
Flying high in the world of animal transportation

Flying high in the world of animal transportation

Animal Aircare handles a substantial volume of animal transportation annually, with approximately 9,000 live animal imports at LHR and 4,000 at LGW in 2023 alone.

“The movement of animals by air has grown significantly over the years. New regulations have been enforced to prioritise the animals’ welfare. Pet travel regulations have also changed to make the process easier and quicker for people to follow, “ Mark Andrew, Director of Animal Aircare, said.

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Animal welfare is a priority

Over the decades, the movement of animals by air has experienced remarkable growth. With the enforcement of new regulations prioritising animal welfare, pet travel has become more streamlined and accessible for owners.

“Animal Aircare has seen an increase in demand since the pandemic, and we are now back to pre-pandemic levels at our LGW site; the LHR site has just surpassed its first operational year of imports, but our airlines have advised us they have seen a huge increase,” Andrew explained.

Animal Aircare handles a substantial volume of animal transportation annually, with approximately 9,000 live animal imports at LHR and 4,000 at LGW in 2023 alone. Despite challenges such as transit delays, demand for animal transportation has surged, particularly post-pandemic.

While challenges persist, including transit times and logistical hurdles, Animal Aircare remains poised for growth. The company sees expansion as a critical opportunity to establish more facilities in the UK and overseas.

“Animal Aircare is licensed to handle dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, reptiles and mammals. We sometimes have small mammals pass through our facilities; we treat these as we do with all of our animals and ensure their welfare is a top priority. The Animal & Plant Health Agency will complete checks on other species than dogs, cats and ferrets,” he added.

The demand for animal transportation varies across regions, with North America and Asia emerging as the busiest lanes. Despite fluctuations, Animal Aircare anticipates continued growth, driven by increased airline activity and expansion efforts.

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Heathrow is one of the largest airports in the world with live animal import

“Heathrow is one of the largest airports in the world and is a hub for compliance and excellence. For years, Heathrow has struggled to keep up with live animal import demand and has seen embargos and restrictions placed on major airlines, affecting the welfare of animals trying to enter the UK via LHR,” Andrew highlighted. 

“Since Animal Aircare opened its doors at Heathrow, our partner airlines have benefitted from an increased revenue stream of live animal entries. Animal Aircare is proud to have reduced a historically long waiting time for clients to collect their pets, bringing it down to around an average time of two hours.”  

Companies like Animal Aircare adapt to meet new standards as regulations evolve to prioritise animal welfare. Looking ahead, the company remains optimistic about the future of animal transport, with plans for further expansion and growth.

“Pet relocation brings a lot of emotional strain to the mix, as the UK has many requirements for entry which can be confusing and stressful, on top of an owner already moving country/relocating can feel like a huge task, any errors can result in lengthy expensive quarantine stays. Other animals travelling from zoos, breeding programmes, etc., is a less stressful process as there aren’t as many emotional attachments in this field than you would see with a pet and its owner,” he continued.    

“Over the last couple of years, Animal Aircare has doubled in size due to investment and increased facility size at London Heathrow and Luton in addition to the existing facility at London Gatwick.”

Picture of Anastasiya Simsek

Anastasiya Simsek

Anastasiya Simsek started her journalism career in 2016 at Ukrainian TV-Channels: 24 Channel and 1+1 Media. Having worked across a number of different sectors, including news, medicine and lifestyle, she joined the Air Cargo Week editorial team in 2024. To share your news and exclusive insights, contact


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