“Whether they have wings or not, your animals are made to fly!," proclaims Air Canada on its website. However, restrictions on sending cats and dogs have been in effect since April 6 and until further notice.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Air Canada Cargo can currently accept dog and cat shipments only through accredited agents who are members of the International Association for the Transport of Pets and Animals ( IPATA ), says AC Animals (the division of Air Canada Cargo for shipping live animals).
Furry travellers to Australia
Even so, earlier this month, some hairy family members were finally able to return to their homes in Australia with Air Canada, after being separated from their owners for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The special charter flight had been planned by WorldWide Animal Travel, thus supervised the return home of nearly 70 cats and dogs aboard a converted Boeing 777-300 aircraft.
The aircraft operating Air Canada flight AC7219, which some in Australia call “Noah's plane," took off from Vancouver on Nov. 5 and landed in Melbourne early Saturday morning.
Precautions before, during and after the flight
Prior to the flight, the animals had been transported to Air Canada Cargo facilities in Vancouver (which is right next to WWAT). Each animal has undergone a health assessment and has been cleared for travel by a WWAT veterinarian.
During the flight, in accordance with the usual protocols established by IATA, the animals traveled separately inside approved cages of adequate size and securely stowed in the cargo hold, where temperature and pressure were controlled, according to standards of Transport Canada.
At the end of the flight, in Melbourne, the animals were quarantined for 10 days, as required by Australian authorities.
Staff Post Entry Quarantine of Melbourne reported that all animals were healthy on arrival and thanked Air Canada for having taken care of the animals for Australian families.
Air Canada regularly transports animals on its flights between Canada and Australia (which are among the airline's longest).
Last year, Air Canada Cargo ensured the movement of more than 5,800 animals around the world; the vast majority were dogs and cats, including the nearly 700 animals between Canada and Australia.
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