Who is Heathrow Animal Reception Centre? What is going on at HARC?


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What’s going on? – HARC – Heathrow Animal Reception Centre

Heathrow’s Animal Reception Centre is the Live Animal Border Inspection Post for Heathrow Airport and run by the City of London Corporation. HARC has been the world leader in the care of animals for the last 30 years!

Did you know – that HARC was the only animal reception centre operational throughout this pandemic?

As of the 1st of August 2020, HARC has announced that it will be limiting the number of live animals travelling through its facility. HARC during COVID-19 ensured they remained open and facilitated as many movements as possible while keeping costing level and maintaining the highest levels of animal care and welfare.

Due to an increase in movements in the last few weeks HARC has a large backlog of animals in need of processing which is why strict measures and restrictions will be implemented going forward.

As of the 1st of August, travelling animals to London as transit or final destination;

  • Limited to 5-7 animals per day per flight
  • No dog and cat shipments over the weekend unless in exceptional circumstances
  • Larger shipments require at least 21 days notification
  • HARC is fully booked until early September 2020 in order to process their current backlog.

Due to the influx of relocating pets from across the globe, this has created a bottleneck which has resulted in backlogged emails and subsequently rejected bookings. While your agent is doing all, it can to secure your booking, airlines are not receiving the “ok-to-forward.” Timeously and many bookings from across the world are being cancelled last minute.

One of the compounding reasons for the challenges that are faced is that most Airline bookings for live animals can only be done 14 days in advance, by the time the booking email is reviewed by HARC the arrival slots for that day is already full.

Question: What if I have an existing Booking?

  • Due to the new regulations and limitations, your pets travel may be rejected.

Question: What happens if my booking is cancelled?

  • Should your booking be cancelled your agent will work hard to make sure that the first available slot is secured for your pets travel! But please note that this could push out your pet’s arrival by 1-4 weeks.

Question: If I am looking to travel in the near future realistically how many months in advance should I start speaking to a pet travel specialist?

  • If you are looking to transit or travel to the UK. Please allow at least 4-8 weeks processing time for your travel agent.

At PETport we respect all airline carriers, animal travel stations, import agents and airports decisions on how they chose to remain operational during this pandemic. We will work tirelessly with our clients to ensure that all relocations happen as seamlessly as possible. Please do bear in mind that current flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic are extremely restricted, only 30% of flight operation globally is in operation, cargo demands for pharmaceuticals, fresh produce, food, PPE is still very high and due to the nature of the aforementioned products, live animal movement does fall behind the queue in the necessity to allocate room on the aircraft. If you are travelling within the month of September or looking to travel in the near future, we request your understanding in facilitating your movement to the UK.


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