Aviation Logistics Knowledge Lecture – Live Animal Transportation (AVI)

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Aviation Logistics Knowledge Lecture – Live Animal Transportation (AVI)

Hello everyone, it’s time for our aviation logistics knowledge lecture again. This time we talk about the transportation of live animals. When it comes to live animals, I don’t know if you have contact with them, but there should be more or less similar inquiries from customers. The so-called live animals are Live Animals, and the code for such goods is AVI.


We may encounter this situation all the time. Some direct customers will come and ask directly: I have a puppy/kitten/small turtle, etc. I want to transport it to such and such places, can you transport it? In fact, we cannot directly answer yes or no to this question. Because it depends on the specific needs of customers. If you ask me, my first reaction is, does this animal need to go with people? If pets fly with people, it has nothing to do with our freight, let customers go directly to the counter to go through the formalities, or consult the airline.


If you don’t go with people, that’s the scope of our air transport. In other words, the animals are transported as “goods”. It may seem immoral to say this, but it is the truth. Usually these animals such as kittens, puppies, small turtles, etc., are relatively small and can be regarded as pets. There are not many special places in the transportation process, and the procedures are basically OK. In the case of large animals such as dolphins, rhinos, horses, etc., there will be a relatively complex process. Let’s first take a look at what to do with pets such as kittens and puppies.


First of all, for the transportation of live animals, all the rules and regulations will be stated in IATA’s LAR (Live Animals Regulations) manual. For the AVI cargo category, IATA has a separate manual to explain, and it also proves that when dealing with live animals, it is different from general cargo. I went to see that the LAR of the latest issue (2021) is about $300.


2021 LAR from IATA official site

2021 LAR from IATA official site


The main contents of this book include the following aspects:

LAR content introduction

LAR content introduction


It can be seen that LAR has clear guidelines for various requirements for transporting AVI. But we won’t talk about the specific details here, just talk about the actual operation. Interested partners can order this book on the IATA official website by air. Here I also provide the official purchase link for everyone (I’m really not IATA’s trustee): https://store.iata.org/IEC_ProductDetails?id=9105-47&_ga=2.126420104.424186914.1603864248-668784605.1602230757


If it is a pet such as a kitten and a dog, generally speaking, when booking a warehouse, it is necessary to make it clear to the airline that it is a live animal and a pet. Then be sure to confirm the warehousing time. Generally, these pets are put into the warehousing last, because it will cause physical and psychological trauma to pets to avoid placing them in a hot place like the cargo station. Otherwise, if something goes wrong, the responsibility will be hard to say.


Second, be sure to have a sturdy cage for pets. If it is a dog, it is impossible to sneak the dog to the freight station, right? So there must be a pet cage. Furthermore, the pet must have a health and epidemic prevention inspection certificate to prove that the pet is free of diseases, otherwise the destination may reject it. Because if you don’t know what virus your pet is carrying, it is easy to cause the virus to spread, which becomes an international problem. Friends, don’t think that this problem is insignificant. Every country, including China, pays great attention not to allow foreign species, including viruses and bacteria, to invade their own countries, because this will have a very bad impact on their own domestic ecological environment. Now everyone should know the importance of doing a good job in epidemic prevention. This is really something that cannot be ignored.


Finally, in the cage, it is necessary to leave an appropriate amount of food and water for the pet. Of course, the water should not be too much, and the water should be filled in a semi-sealed container to prevent leakage. Semi-sealed means a device that requires the pet to fetch the water itself, rather than pouring the water directly into an open container. The purpose of keeping water and food is of course to prevent pets from dying of thirst or starvation during the flight, which is a very troublesome thing. Then, even if it is a pet dog that is not too aggressive, it is actually recommended to mix a small amount of sedative in its food to prevent it from doing some crazy behaviors because it is not suitable for take-off, landing or flying. As for the dosage, this is something to ask your pet caregiver. The pet cannot be completely stunned, and the dosage must be controlled. Of course, other necessary documents, such as packing list, invoice, customs clearance, etc., cannot be pulled down either. The bill of lading should also reflect that the ticket is a live animal and display the AVI code.


You may be more interested in how these pets should be boarded. This is indeed something that needs to be considered, but it is the airline’s consideration. From the standpoint of the airline, if you receive a pet ticket, if possible, it is best to give this pet a separate ULD, but it must not be closed ULDs such as AKE, ALF, etc. why? Because it may suffocate pets! So it can only be installed on open ULDs, such as PLA, PLF, etc. If it can’t be arranged, of course, it can also be placed in a loose warehouse (the premise is that it must be fixed and the cage cannot be allowed to run around).


Speaking of which, I remember that a senior told me a few interesting cases back then. It is said that about 20 years ago, a large airline in East China, because there were not too many regulations for air transportation at that time, when carrying out live animal transportation, the operation was relatively casual. Here’s the thing, when the airline received two shipments of live animals, one was a 48-hour-old chick, and the other was a wolf dog. The board loading personnel may not have cared about it at the time, and then put the two shipments together. And guess what happened in the end? After the plane landed, the ground crew was dumbfounded as soon as they opened the hatch. Because most of the chicks are dead. Finally checked it out, it is estimated that the chick was scared to death because he was afraid of the big wolf dog next to him. When I heard this story, my first reaction was that it was funny, but later I thought, this is really a tragedy. Because the loading personnel did not analyze the characteristics of the two consignments, more than half of the chicks died in the end. I don’t care whether the chicks are really scared to death, but this way of pretending is definitely inappropriate. The two AVIs should be loaded separately.


Therefore, for the installation of live animals, in addition to professional knowledge, it is also necessary to combine certain common sense. As in the above example, it is obviously inappropriate to place a ferocious carnivore next to a docile herbivore. However, don’t worry too much, most airlines will take this into account. After all, the above example was twenty years ago, and now it is just a lesson.


Now let’s look at the transportation of large animals. I have helped a certain long and a zoo transport some large animals before. Basically, they are imported from abroad, including rhinos, horses, etc. These large animals are a little more complicated. The picture above, this is the rhino I followed up before, coming in from South Africa, now let’s take a look at what state they are on the plane.

Rhino project

Rhino project


It can be seen that this rhino is very peaceful. Oh no. is very quiet. Also because of the sedative injection. There is also some food and grass for the rhinos to eat on the ground, in case the rhinos are hungry and have nothing to eat. These large animals especially need to be sedated, because they are big, and if they can’t control it, they are likely to crash the ULD or even crash the plane. Maybe even people, planes and animals are destroyed together, it will cause a serious air accident.


When transporting large animals, in addition to the inspection and quarantine certificates and necessary documents mentioned earlier, there is also the most obvious feature, which is that someone needs to wait by the side. This person is called attendant. But this person is generally not just a random person, a veterinarian who needs a license to practice, or a person who is very familiar with the animal can play this role. He can fly over randomly, and after being certified by the airline, he can fly over randomly without a visa. Of course, you can’t walk around after landing, you can only fly back to the origin with the plane. The role of this person is not only to take care of the animals’ daily diet during the flight, but also to coordinate and deal with unexpected situations. Therefore, the phone number of an emergency contact person is usually mentioned on the bill of lading, in case there is an unexpected situation and you need to find someone to deal with it immediately.


Compared with pets, these large animals also require the recipient of the destination to issue a receipt in advance, proving that the animal is supervised and is allowed to be imported. Otherwise, it’s not fun to let these large animals out of the airport if no one takes them.


After the plane lands, the attendant needs to hand over with the local person or unit that receives the animal, and only after checking the animal’s health and mental condition can the handover be completed. Of course, animals are also subject to customs and inspection and quarantine inspections. No problem to be sent to the final destination.


So how did these large animals fit into the ULD? Except for horses that have special ULDs that I have seen, most other large animals, as long as they are land animals, are also transported with ULDs for horses. And because someone needs to be supervised, it can only be placed on the main deck. For those who forget what the main deck is, you can click here to review it. Because the lower deck and the main deck are incompatible with each other, they can only be placed on the main deck.


Therefore, when transporting such a large animal, it is very likely to receive a pivot, or even a charter flight.


Of course, I have said so much, just to give everyone a general understanding of the transportation of live animals, not to be in a state of confusion. At least now when a client asks if you can help him transport his kitten, you know what to say, right?


Alright, that’s it for this issue, see you next time!

NB: Karron is the owner of the “NatureCalls” Wechat Official Account.

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