Last year proved to be another busy year for Chapman Freeborn’s animal transport company Intradco Global, says director Charlie McMullen.
Intradco helped transport 2,500-3,000 horses in 2018, which McMullen says is similar to the usual average with the Middle East proving a consistently busy market. Around 85% of the horses globally travel on scheduled services though due to Intradco’s service model being geared up for more complex movements, its ratio is around 60% charter 40% scheduled service.
When transporting the equines, McMullen says there is very little difference between most wide-body aircraft, though the noise and take off/landing elevation can vary in smaller charter aircraft used for short-haul services.
McMullen says: “The key element that makes the most significant difference is the quality and design of the horse stall (ULD) that is used for each type of horses, and the expertise of the flying groom(s) to keep a safe and stress-free environment for the horses.”
With more than three decades of experience, Intradco has been able to innovate different types of equipment ranging from loading ramps and specialist stalls for AN-12s and IL-76s through to HMA/HML/HMR horse stalls for Boeing 777-200s, 747-400s and 747-8s.
McMullen says: “Due to the global nature of our business, our equipment is always transportable by air, so for all models we have collapsible versions that can be transported empty. We also have a variety of livestock ULDs and loading apparatus that are designed for enhancing cost efficiency in global livestock transport by air.”
Moving equines requires a lot of planning, but Intradco has five basic processes: firstly provide an accurate loading plan from trucks through to stall; ensure all documentation is ready so there are no unnecessary delays getting further clearances; stalls have to be pre-checked and ready in the correct configuration; handling agents need to be aware of timing and equipment; and there needs to be quick communication between all stakeholders.
It also results in some interesting requests, such as sending a horse on behalf of a president using the country’s government fleet, which required Intradco to make a bespoke loading plan for the non-commercial aircraft.
Intradco was also required to transport over 110 horses within three days from a country and airport with no previous horse exports by air, meaning extra time to design a fail-safe plan.
Transporting equines is certainly not a dull industry, with McMullen commenting: “Some flat racing movements can have a really great atmosphere, when you are carrying the favourite for a high stakes race. We have had an aircraft flying with only two horses to a race, and a combined insurance value of over €56 million.”