Lufthansa Cargo’s Animal Lounge at Frankfurt Airport offers 24/7 care, handling, animal coordination and veterinary services under one roof. Sabine Grebe and Jessica Braun jointly manage the facility.
ACW: Lufthansa’s animal facility at Frankfurt Airport is the ‘world’s most modern’ animal station. What makes the facility different/better than other facilities?
Sabine Grebe: On 4,000 sq m we can optimally care for and accommodate a variety of animal species. Our Frankfurt Animal Lounge provides 42 flexibly expandable large animal stalls (e.g. for horses), 39 small animal stalls (e.g. for dogs), 18 temperature-controlled climate chambers (e.g. for reptiles and cats), special aviaries, a black light area for examining ornamental fish and other isolable examination areas.
Trained animal caretakers care for the animals around the clock. We house animals from different countries of origin in structurally separated import, export and transit areas. Due to the proximity to the apron, we can transport our guests to the aircraft very quickly.
The Frankfurt Animal Lounge offers a rest area for animal companions and a comfortable, tread-resistant floor. In addition, the Veterinary Border Inspection Post Hessen is located directly in the Frankfurt Animal Lounge. Although all of our animal guests are very well taken care of, Lufthansa Cargo customers have the option of booking an additional Premium offer. Among other services, the owners receive photos of their pets during their stay in the Frankfurt Animal Lounge.
ACW: How has animal transportation changed during the pandemic?
Jessica Braun: We are pleased that we are able to continue offering animal transports during the corona pandemic, especially with our freighters. During the corona pandemic, we tend to have more animals as guests in our Frankfurt Animal Lounge. There, we accommodate all animals that travel in freighters, in the bellies of passenger planes or accompany a passenger with a longer stay in Frankfurt. Thus, all changes to scheduled flights can impact the number of animals with us. Basically, we are able to accommodate animals longer than planned and react accordingly also in case of pandemic-related flight changes at short notice.
ACW: Have you had an exotic animals pass through the facility recently? How are their needs catered to?
SG: We regularly have unusual animals, such as tigers or hippos as guests. Just recently, we were pleased to welcome two giant pandas. Also in these cases, we plan transport and accommodation very precisely with our customers beforehand.
Often the animals are accompanied by keepers that they already know. In our Frankfurt Animal Lounge, we can then cater to all individual needs. Be it special food, individual transport case or a certain ambient temperature. Our animal caretakers on site also receive appropriate training for the special species.
ACW: How do you mitigate risks and problems that arise when the cargo can move and cause disruption both on the plane and in facility?
JB: Our aircraft have a special floor system on which the cargo is secured and therefore cannot move during the transport. All cargo is loaded professionally and secured on special transport pallets, which are then firmly anchored in the floor system of the aircraft. When transporting animals, we also ensure that they are comfortably accommodated in the aircraft.
It is important to us, that animal companions can have access to their fosterlings at all times during the flight. Our goal is to provide the animals with a journey as safe and comfortable as possible.