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Emirates hauls penguins, horses on transatlantic flight

By Hpanchal on January 31, 2012

Emirates SkyCargo has successfully transported four racehorses and 20 penguins from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Dubai International Airport. To accommodate the unusual load, airline officials assembled two horse stalls and brought snow and ice on board the Boeing 777 aircraft.

The penguins arrived to JFK airport by refrigerated truck and were immediately placed in large plastic totes filled with ice and snow. Such measures ensured the penguins were well ventilated and able to achieve secure footing during the flight, according to a press release.

“We welcomed the challenge, packing additional ice and snow, and spraying the penguins with water to cool them throughout the more-than-12-hour flight,” Hiran Perera, Emirates’ senior vice president, cargo freighter for North America, said in a statement.

“As with all precious cargo, penguins require specific care and attention,” Perera stated. Emirates SkyCargo was very cognizant of this fact, Perera explained, and placed the penguins on the main freighter deck where three attendants could supervise them.

Airline officials also placed the four racehorses on the main deck, according to the press release. Two grooms stayed with the horses throughout the duration of the flight.

Perera admits that simultaneously addressing the needs of both penguins and racehorses presented some unique challenges. “The different mix of animals on this flight required the SkyCargo team to maintain two different temperature zones on the deck, the first time this has been attempted out of the U.S,” he said in a statement. “However, working closely with Emirates Engineering and Boeing, we were delighted to be able to deliver the penguins safely to their new home in Dubai.”

Emirates SkyCargo isn’t the only carrier that recently made headlines for transporting animal cargo. FedEx hauled two giant, 3-year-old pandas from Chengdu, China to Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport on January 15.

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