Industry Update – UK Shipments

Industry Update – UK Shipments

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The UK has been a volatile routing for both the humans and Fur Babies for the past 2 years since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic. Can you believe last year the aviation industry found ourselves in the same situation which resulted in PETport securing 3 Semi-Charters to assist with the EXACT backlog that is currently developing. HARC – Heathrow’s Animal Reception Centre has been the busiest Animal Travel Station in the world even remaining open during LOCKDOWN Level 5.

The current situation for flights to the UK are severe limitations resulting in a drastic increase in flight costings… WHY?

The end of November South Africa was removed from the Red List, but NO airline added additional flight routings for transiting Fur Babies from South Africa to the UK. Furthermore, on the 26th of December PETport staff were called back from the festive break due to an announcement by British Airways on Boxing Day, confirming cancelling for all January Live Animal Bookings for the month of January and warning on severe restriction for live animals for the month of February.

We spent the rest of the Christmas and New Year period researching every option available for every possible airline out of South Africa. Each and every single airline is independently run and therefore will dictate pricing based on availability for AVI (live animal) transfers. Remember, AVI allocation is always allocated last on the plane, they also will cancel AVI space is they are able to transport PPE, perishables or other equipment which is stackable items for a higher pricing. Some airlines are also charging pivot or minimum accepted weight for travel pricing meaning that, even if your Fur baby with the crate takes up 16kg of volumetric weight, you will have to pay the full 1250kgs!!

All airlines remain heavily constrained and whilst the world is very slowly starting to try and re-open travel with realistic and measured approaches to managing the pandemic, it is critical to understand that Airlines are still battling at the implementation of their flight routes, many routes were cut through-out the pandemic in a continued effort to ensure that planes are not flying empty due to no passenger volumes depending on routes and government restrictions on the arrival of citizens from certain countries.

Very slowly flight routes are being announced, however the airline industry is nowhere near to normal operation.  Only about 30% of flights are flying compared to 2019, cargo demand has remained high with some suggestions that there is even more demand for air cargo.  It is easy to see how quickly this bottle neck in all cargo travelling by air has been created.  In short Live Animal bookings are not only competing for space on a congested network but are competing for space against many other products and goods that travel by air, some of these products do have to take preference over live animals, and many products cannot be flown with live animals on board.  For example, a Live Animal cannot be flown with Dry Ice as the ventilation in the hold may be compromised and the airline would never want to knowingly put your Fur kid at any risk.

What does this mean for traveling families?

  • These severe limitations in airline routings means that the available options are much higher costings compared to previous quoted options.
  • This could also result in routings with alternative airlines requiring a longer transit time.
  • Longer processing timelines with airlines, as well as longer processing times for booking confirmations. This means that your family’s timeline could drastically increase due to these severe limitations.
  • Longer stay at booking kennels, cattery and family due to airline limitations, flight cancellations, flight time changes etc.

We are doing all we possibly can during this very difficult time in aviation to try our absolute best to get your Fur kid home to your family, we remain fair and ethical in availability that is given from airlines, we will not take a customer who is using another transport company (who are all experiencing the same airline issues) and insert them ahead of other moms and dads who are waiting for their Fur kids just in order to be a hero, the pet travel industry is extremely tough globally at the moment due to the incredible conditions all pet shippers across the world are operating in, all our consultants are working harder than ever before trying to get Fur kids home.

As always PETport is here to assist you and your family. We understand the difficulty in traveling during this time and will do everything in our power to assist families around the world. We thank you for your patience and understanding. Should you wish to discuss your plans, or you just need someone to talk to? Chat to our team on WhatsApp Business – 063 971 6547!


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