Etihad Cargo has successfully shipped a very special consignment. The freight division of Etihad Airways was tasked with transporting more than 70 elite racehorses from England to Kuwait after the European racing season.
In all, 72 racehorses
– worth a combined AED 163 million (£36 million) – were transported from London
Stansted Airport to Kuwait City, where they will spend the winter months
training and racing in the temperate Middle Eastern climate. They were flown on
one of the carrier’s state-of-the-art Boeing 777 freighters which are equipped
with comfortable seating for up to nine grooms and can accommodate up to 75
horses at a time.
David Kerr, Senior
Vice President of Etihad Cargo, said: “Safety is the most important thing for
our equine customers, which is why it is imperative we offer a safe and
reliable service on all of our shipments.
“The Middle East has
strong ties to these magnificent creatures dating back thousands of years and,
to this day, they are arguably the most precious cargo we carry. In 2016 alone
Etihad Cargo has been entrusted to transport more than 1,200 horses, with
several more large shipments scheduled before the end of the year.”
Conan Busby, MAG’s Head of Cargo, owners of London Stansted
Airport, said: “We are delighted that
Etihad Airways chose Stansted to handle this delicate and valuable cargo.
Stansted is the UK’s number one airport for horse travel and handles many specialist flights every year. Many
of the horses taking part in this year’s Olympic Games and the Queen’s 90th
Birthday celebrations passed through Stansted’s dedicated equine facility.”
A team of six
professional grooms handled the horses during loading, while on board the
flight – when they visit them in the cargo hold to ensure they are comfortable
and calm – and on arrival in Kuwait.
When the horses
arrived at Stansted they were loaded by their grooms into jet stalls, specially
designed with non-slip floors which hold three horses apiece. The IATA-approved
stalls were then loaded onto the temperature controlled cargo hold of the
aircraft in an operation which took more than six hours.
Etihad Cargo operates
a fleet of nine wide-body freighters – five Boeing 777Fs and four Airbus A330Fs
– which can be configured to carry 75 and 30 horses respectively.