Monday, June 3, 2013

Decade of Pets as Import - Export Freight Has Given a Boost to Cargo Airline

Now Faithful Owners are to receive a Little Something Back
Shipping News Feature

UK - WORLDWIDE – Britain is of course a nation of animal lovers, one only has to look at the strength of opinion in the country currently regarding the proposed cull of Badgers which saw action on the streets this past weekend to realise this, and the realignment of the quarantine laws a decade ago regarding the import and export of pets did not just immediately see hundreds of dogs passing through the Channel Tunnel and on RoRo ferries in private cars but also boosted traffic for carriers prepared to ship pets as freight to many parts of the world from whence they could return without the need for six months enforced absence from their doting owners.

One of the first companies to profit from this welcome boost to trade was Virgin Atlantic Cargo which became the first scheduled airline to carry cats and dogs from the USA into London Heathrow under the Defra Pet Travel Scheme, since when Virgin Atlantic has flown over 15,000 pets with its ‘Flying Paws’ scheme to and from destinations as far flung as Cape Town, Los Angeles and Sydney.

To celebrate the scheme’s ten year anniversary the airline is working with the Canine Cookie Company to give a “Happy Barkday” cake for dogs and a ‘purrfect” birthday cake for cats and is also giving owners extra miles for their Flying Club account. The top five destinations chosen by Virgin Atlantic’s well-travelled pets are Sydney, Los Angeles, Orlando, Washington, New York City and currently pet owners can redeem 1000 Flying Club miles if their pet flies to Orlando, Miami, Washington, Chicago, New York City, Dubai, Barbados, and Boston; 2000 miles for Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Hong Kong; and an impressive 3000 for Sydney.

In the first year of the scheme Virgin flew a total of 580 cats and dogs, last year a 400% increase saw 2321 take the plane and John Lloyd, Director of Cargo, Virgin Atlantic commented:

“Since the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme in 2003, we have quite literally taken the lead in providing a pedigree service for our furry friends and we are seeing more and more passengers trusting us with their precious cargo. We’ve transported so many breeds all around the world – ranging from Siamese cats to Australia and Yorkshire terriers to the Far East. We’ve carried animals for customers who want to make sure their pets also get a holiday in the sun, for those staring a new life abroad and we’ve even flown police sniffer dogs trained in the UK to the Caribbean.”

Virgin has notably carried such canine celebrities as Uggie, star of Oscar winning film The Artist en route to the presentations in Los Angeles, and Mugly, ‘the ugliest dog in the world’ also flew with Virgin when he travelled to the USA to claim his ‘prestigious’ accolade. One famous face who has benefited from the change in regulations and opted for Virgin as his carrier of choice is actor John Barrowman, who famously takes his dogs back and forth across the pond on the company’s aircraft and he echoed the thoughts of many pet owners when he said:

“My dogs are part of my family so when work takes me to America, as it does regularly, I want my family with me. I trust Virgin Atlantic with my dogs, Captain Jack, a Jack Russell, and Harris, a cocker spaniel.”