Transporting equines has always been a strong business area for Cargolux Airlines International, and grew substantially in 2018.
The number of horses transported by Cargolux surged by 30% in 2018 from 2,000 in 2017 to 2,600. Horses make up 50% of the total live animal shipments at Cargolux, according to Marc Roveri, head of global customer services and Christian Theis, manager global product management. They say the 30% growth is “a reflection of our renowned expertise in the field”.
The main transport routes cover North America, Europe and the Middle East, with demand linked to seasonality and equestrian events.
Roveri and Theis comment: “The animals are generally thoroughbreds and are considered as highly valuable athletes that require utmost care during transport.”
The major of equines fly on scheduled services, with Cargolux’s global network offering a wide range of connections though sometimes they travel on charter flights.
They say: “We do occasionally handle requests for special charters; last August, Cargolux provided a charter flight to transport horses to the Asian Games in Jakarta, a destination that is not covered by our scheduled services.”
These special and valuable animals need to be transported with the utmost care. Cargolux’s home base in Luxembourg includes an EU-certified veterinary station that can accommodate up to 49 horses and is divided into imports and exports to avoid cross contamination. The equines are held in purpose-built pens in a contained and noise-protected area with adjustable temperature and lighting conditions. The live animal lounge is 80 metres from the apron, with the short distance being described as a “USP” for Cargolux’s hub.
Roveri and Theis say: “To ensure maximum comfort during the flight, Cargolux uses state-of-the-art horse stalls with a double layer pallet base to provide increased stability and reduce the motion feeling, greatly reducing the stress for the animals. These stalls are designed to accommodate up to three horses each.”
Ensuring the animals are not stressed when up in the air is very important. Cargolux’s fleet of Boeing 747-400s and 747-8s have perfect ventilation and temperature control systems to duplicate natural environments, with four distinct climate zones that can be controlled individually.
Roveri and Theis say: “Animal grooms can travel on the upper deck with direct access to the main deck to care for the animals during the flight on the main deck. The long range of the aircraft eliminates unnecessary fuelling stops, shortening the travel times considerably.”
Transporting equines is always interesting and challenging, with proper preparation required to safeguard the welfare of the animals and provide them with a safe and comfortable journey.
Roveri and Theis say: “Our CV alive teams work tirelessly on improving and optimising live animal transport to always offer the best possible service.”