Stansted Airport has welcomed new non-European services in recent years, which have benefitted from the ability to fly horses into the UK, Stansted Airport Border Inspection Post (BIP) manager, Shane Stephens tells Air Cargo Week staff writer James Muir.
He says Stansted welcomed nearly 1,200 horses from outside the European Union in 2015 and nearly 600 departing domestically and internationally, and exports are likely exceed those numbers this year.
Stephens says Stansted’s BIP facility was purpose built for importing horses and has plenty of capacity for future growth. He says: “Over recent years the airport has attracted new services by non-European based carriers including Qatar Airways, China Southern and Turkish Airlines.
“These carriers are able to benefit from the ability to fly horses into the UK at their freighter gateway as other existing customers including Panalpina, Martinair, Asiana and FedEx already do.”
Stansted is located near Newmarket, the heart of the UK’s bloodstock industry, so the majority of shipments are for equines.
Stephens says this means Stansted handles a lot of interesting shipments: “The airport receives many of the world’s finest thoroughbred race horses and polo ponies, but some of the more interesting flights this year have been the Oman Cavalry which was flown in across two B777 freighters to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.”
It also handled flights carrying horses for several teams for the Rio Olympics and has flown polo ponies from South America.
The BIP facility is purpose build for handling horses, offering full veterinary facilities, stables, shower facilities and alternative examination rooms.
It is immediately adjacent to the aircraft stands and can handle any aircraft up to a Boeing 747-8 Freighter, and has specialist handling equipment including ramps and transport equipment to move animals from aircraft to horse box.
Stephens comments: “It is imperative that the animals arrive and depart in as seamless a manner as possible – any unnecessary hassle or stress can have an impact so everything we do is planned well in advance to ensure a quick processing and easy transfer between aircraft to horse box.”