Putting your pooch on a plane? New Israel-based service offers medical guidance worldwide.
By BENJAMIN JOFFE-WALT/ THE MEDIA LINE
The world’s largest pet air transportation and relocation company is launching an Israel-based 24/7 international veterinarian support service.Animal Airways, the selfproclaimed leader in global pet flight and relocation, has subcontracted with an Israeli company, Terminal4Pets, to offer a fulltime, globally accessible veterinarian guidance team.The service will allow families travelling with pets to consult with a veterinarian 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 10 languages.The company is in negotiation with a number of large, global airlines, hoping to provide the service on a larger level, but declined to identify the carriers by name.Terminal4Pets, which runs Animal Airways’ services in the Middle East and North Africa, already offers an international team of vets, pet handlers and “veteran pet travel agents” making available a number of pet travel solutions including high-class custom-made kennels; flight kits; customs clearance assistance; and a VIP (“Very Important Pet”) service to meet and greet your pet upon arrival and take it to its new home via a “Pet shuttle.”“If someone flies anywhere in the world, it’s the veterinarian’s responsibility for the animal’s well being and we have on ground staff 24/7,” said Dr. Eytan Kreiner, head veterinarian at Animal Airways and the founder of Terminal4Pets.“There are so many veterinary decisions and sometimes the traveler wants to speak to a vet before flight or after flight. We allow them to do that anywhere in the world.Advertisement“This morning, for example, we have animals flying from Sudan to Nigeria,” he said. “Each animal is a small project and we need to make sure there are the right vaccinations, blood work, a microchip in case the pet gets lost, all the veterinary services, a taxi service for animals, a kennel and all the paperwork on both sides.”But it’s not only puppies and kittens flying the friendly skies, Animal Airways has helped giraffes, crocodiles, chinchillas, snakes, gold fish and exotic birds take flight.“We recently brought 15 llamas from Canada to a tourist farm in Israel,” said Ayala Bar, director of marketing and business development for Animal Airlines.“You have to think about every small detail, and it was a big operation with months of preparation.“We worked with Air Canada, rented half of the cargo department and built them huge kennels so they’d have enough space. We had veterinarians on both ends for a pre-flight check and a post-flight check, huge special shuttle arranged, water and food throughout the flight. It was really exciting and they were adorable.“The bureaucracy of pet transportation is very difficult,” Bar said. “If you want to keep your heads up in this business, you have to know what’s going on with regulations all over the world. We are always trying to be one step ahead with the latest regulations on both ends, the latest standards for vaccinations, blood tests, microchips, kennels, pet passports, even the latest diapers that will last the entire flight.”The company also offers a Pet2Jet VIP service.“Usually you come to the airport with your partner, two kids and the dog,” Dr.Kreiner said. “They will tell you to go to the gate and leave the dog here. With VIP, we have a person who will take the dog from you and personally put it under the plane, check that the temperature is OK and that the dog is comfortable. We are coordinating this all over the Middle East.”Dr. Kreiner said that animal transportation has become a major international business.“Last year there were 4 million pets flown annually, and 10 million passengers flying with the pets,” he said. “It’s a big market, Animal Airlines leads the market, and we coordinate any flight anywhere in the Middle East: Dubai, Saudi, Egypt, Yemen, Turkey.”Terminal4Pets has been in operation since 2004. The company’s flight management services begin around $275 and the airport companion VIP service is around $200.
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