Airline Carrier Status and Flight Routings…… What is going on?

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Airline Carrier Status and Flight Routings…… What is going on?

During this lockdown period and phasing in our return to the “new normal.” Many potential clients, future travelers and family’s wishing to immigrate are confused about the Regulations/Regulatory Bodies and parties involved in relocating your Fur Babies.

This can be a very confusing time regarding why some Fur babies are returning home while others are still grounded and unable to travel. Whilst correct documentation, bloodwork and vet checks are very important for relocating your Fur Baby. Flights are still the most crucial, as well as, unpredictable and erratic part of relocating your Fur Baby during this time.

When analyzing the industry and how they work we need to understand where decisions are made, and how can we break it down?

When wanting to book a flight where do we start?


Most International Airports are phasing in the opening of Airports but there are some Airports in smaller tier cities that are remaining closed based on the number of COVID-19 cases in that specific country.

Airline Carriers are independent corporations that are governed individually. Each airline sets its own measures for battling COVID-19 while choosing to remain operational.

Airline Routings are set by Airline Carriers. These routings are consistently changing. While an airline route may be available this does not mean that that flight is equipped to carry AVI (Live Animals).

BUT flights are available I’ve seen so many Fur Babies traveling, why are my furkids not getting on a flight?

Flight Breakdown:

Yes, flights are available! But for some National Carriers, flights are reserved for repatriation flights. What is a repatriation flight?

Repatriation flights are flights approved by the Government to assist citizens to return to their homes or places of employment. Preference is given to passengers traveling with their Fur Babies returning home. Last preference is given to pets who are moving, not along with their moms and dads and for travel on a cargo flight, it is very important to remember that even if you have a confirmed booking, there is the possibility that the cargo carrier gets a last minute booking to carry PPE’s onboard, this will supersede the booking of a live animal and other “non-essential” cargo 

Airline Carriers are slowly but surely opening more routings but most airplanes in the air are currently Passenger flights only. This means that the cargo section where your Fur baby flies is not equipped, or temperature controlled for your fur baby’s care and comfort. Flights that are opening that are AVI travel friendly are 1/3 of previous volume with limited space.

What is the current situation with Vets?

Up until the 01 June 2020, the Government Vets were only allowed to endorse documents for pets whose owners were being repatriated, no other endorsements were to be carried out at this time

What is the current situation with Airports?

Airport handling staff are practicing Social Distancing, in line with stringent Government protocols, there are less staff available (hence the reason why airlines have limited live animal booking as there are less staff to take care of them) and check-in times are longer and the whole process is much slower.

What is the current situation with Airline Carriers?

  • Qantas will not be returning to the skies before November 2020.
  • British Airways is fully booked until the 1st of July for Pets, remember that BA do not take live animals every day, their flights that take live animals are very limited to only a couple of times a week.
  • FlySAA are only operating Repatriation Flights, SAA were taking live animals on these flights, but have since stopped, this was only with the owner on board (no representatives have ever been allowed to take live animals with SAA repatriations)
  • Ethiopian Airlines and Turkish Airlines are only processing Repatriation Flights but not taking live animals (AVI).
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are operating only to Amsterdam for Cats and Dogs only, under repatriation flights.
  • Qatar Airways is operating based on capacity and not all routings have been re-opened for live animals.
  • Virgin Atlantic will resume flights in July – and Johannesburg to London is scheduled for September, Virgin have not yet indicated if they will be taking Live Animals or not.

Your Pet Travel Specialist will work tirelessly to source the first available option for your Fur Baby, but remember;

  • Airline Rate Increases are not decided upon by Pet Travel Specialists but through exchange rates and flight carriers pricing structure, every airline has a different structure for live animals.
  • Everything is on a first come first served basis, however this if your pets are too large or too small for a flights cargo space, another pet in the queue behind your furkids may qualify for the space, that’s why your Pet Travel Specialist will make sure your documents are in order and ready to go when the opportunity to travel becomes available.

Your Fur baby is the first priority as well as your health and wellness, so take care and remember you are a crucial member of the team.