Airborne Pets

Shippers Responsibilities


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Quarantine Regulations


Attention of shippers is drawn to the airlines general conditions of carriage referred to on the reverse of the Air Waybill for consignments offered for carriage. These are available on the website and you must confirm that you have read and accept them prior to us confirming your booking. The airline does not assume any obligation to carry the goods by any particular aircraft or other conveyance. The airline is authorised to select and to deviate from or change, the route of the shipment, notwithstanding the same as stated on the Air Waybill without any liability therefore.

It is the shipper's responsibility to ensure that all paperwork required for the importation of their animals is correct for the country they are entering.

In-flight environment

The height at which aircraft operate varies considerably, depending upon the nature of the flight and type of aircraft used. It is usual for aircraft cabins and cargo holds to be pressurised at an altitude equivalent to 2,440 metres (8,000 feet) regardless of the actual flight level. This may have an effect on the animal's behaviour and physiology.


The shipper or its authorised agent is responsible for and must:

Finalise the route and any special care requirements at reservation and prior to acceptance;

Advise the airline if female animals are in oestrus "heat";

Advise the airline of the gender of the mammals being shipped;

Obtain all documents and correct information for the Shippers Certification;

Comply with national, airline and IATA regulations as applicable;

Information on documentation and vaccination requirements for your destination can be found at:

Provide a health certificate from a vet within 96 hours of the flight to show that the pets are fit to travel.

Provide containers that conform to the IATA Live Animals Regulations latest edition;

Provide suitable bedding and food for the species that does not contravene any regulations;

Affix special feeding and watering instructions, the date and time that food and water was last given to the animal, prior to acceptance;

Provide a 24 hour phone contact, where the carrier can obtain instructions, in the event of an emergency (this number will also be written onto the shipping documents).

Declare the condition of animals when pregnant or has given birth in the last 48 hours;

Record of any medication given, ie drug, dosage, time given and route. This information must accompany the documents and a copy be affixed to the container.


Airlines will not accept any dogs listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act, this is due to the potential danger to staff, customers and aircraft.

Brachycephalic (short-nosed/snub-nosed) Dog and Cat breeds

Most airlines have restrictions in the movement of Brachycephalic (short-nosed/snub-nosed) dogs & cats, this is due to the potential susceptibility to increased risk of heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to stress or extreme heat.

Dog breeds American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffin, Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, Dutch Pug, Bulldog, English Bulldog, English Toy Spaniel, Chow Chow, Chinese Pug, French Bulldog, Japanese Chin, Japanese Pug, Japanese Boxer, Lhasa Apso, Pekinese, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel, Shar Pei, Pug, Pit Bull, Mastiff (all breeds).

Cat Breeds Burmese, Himalayas, Persians.

In accordance with current good practise airlines would require the following to reduce stress and heat exposure, when shipping the above mentioned breeds.

Use 1 size larger container than is normally required.

Use a container with ventilation on 4 sides. (if container does not have ventilation on 4 sides, modify the container by drilling 7 holes in the rear top and 7 holes in the rear bottom using a ¾ inch keyhole bit).

Where possible acclimate the animal to the container by letting it spend time in the container for a few days before departure.

Do not place food in the container, just water.

Provide plenty of water to the animal.

Before preparing a Pet consignment for carriage by air, shippers must always obtain full information well in advance concerning export/import, in transit permit, veterinary health certificate, for CITES species - CITES export permit and a copy of the CITES import permit where required, veterinary examination, quarantine, transshipment requirements or prohibition restrictions, which may also include the food provided for the animal. Such regulations are subject to frequent change and depend upon the species being shipped. Therefore, the shipper must obtain current requirements from the local Consulate or national authority concerned.

It is the responsibility of the shipper to ascertain what national legislation regarding the protection of animals during transport by air is in force to, through and from the countries to which the animals are being shipped. The shipper must provide a 24-hour phone number from where the carrier can obtain instructions from the shipper or his agent, in the event of an emergency and this number is written on the Air Waybill.

Young Animals

The shipper is required to declare when animals are pregnant, or have given birth in the last 48 hours. Pets which are declared to be pregnant will not be tendered for transport unless accompanied by a veterinary certificate certifying that the animal is fit to travel and that there is no risk of birth occurring during the journey.

Weaned puppies and kittens may travel well together. The quantity must be related to the size and strength of the individual animal. Avoid shipping a weakling, which could be harmed by its companions. Certain national regulations require cats and dogs to be crated individually.

As a precaution to help ensure the safe transportation for any animal under 16 weeks of age:

Do not vaccinate within 3 days of transport.

Do not worm within 3 days of transport.

Ensure that no medical procedures are performed within 3 days of transport.

Most airlines will not accept animals less than 12 weeks old.

Animal Health

Only animals, which appear to be in good health and condition not exhibiting aggressive behaviour and are fit to travel to the final destination, will be accepted for travel. The most important consideration for acceptance of animals includes their health and disposition, since airlines will not transport an animal that is violent or ill. A health certificate will help minimise questions and this will need to be undertaken by a vet within 96 hours of the flight to show that the pet is fit for air travel.

Travel Arrangements

It is a requirement that a confirmed booking with the Airline is obtained prior to delivery to the airport. The animals and containers must be delivered to the nominated handling company at the airport of departure, no earlier than 4-hours and no later than 2-hours before the published departure time of the flight. Handling company details will be sent on confirmation of booking.

Carrier's Liability

The carrier will not be liable for any loss, damage or expense arising from death due to natural causes or death or injury of any animal caused by the conduct or acts of the animal itself or of other animals such as biting, kicking, goring or smothering, nor for that caused or contributed to by the condition, nature of propensities of the animal, or by defective packaging of the animal, or by the inability of the animal to withstand unavoidable changes in its physical environment inherent to the carriage by air.

Container Construction

All containers must meet the IATA general container requirements detailed. Most pet shops, kennels and website suppliers sell containers, or you can have one made to measure. For further information go to the IATA website at:

Container Requirement

The illustrations shown below are examples only. Containers that conform to the principle of written guidelines but look slightly different will still meet the IATA standards


Fibreglass, metal, rigid plastics, weld metal mesh, solid wood or plywood.

Principles of design

The following principles of design must be met.

Containers made entirely of welded-mesh or wire-mesh are not suitable for air transport.

Rigid plastic containers (except collapsible types) are suitable for most breeds of dog but their carriage is at the discretion of the carrier. For two part, rigid plastic containers, all hardware must be present and properly installed. Larger plastic containers must have at least two secure door fasteners. If a container has wheels, they must be removed or rendered inoperable.

Rigid plastic containers are not suitable for dogs over 40 kilos or breeds of dogs that are aggressive. Specially constructed containers of hardwood, metal, plywood or similar material with two secure door fasteners on each side must be used.


Each animal contained in the container must have enough space to turn about normally while standing, to stand and sit erect, and to lie in a natural position.


Rigid plastic or solid wood with joints screwed or bolted depending on the weight of the animal. For dogs over 40 kilos it is advisable that a solid wooden outer frame with additional cross members is used.


For containers made of wood, Plywood of a minimum of 12mm or equivalent material must be used to line the outer framework. Sidewalls must be solid with sufficient ventilation as prescribed. The interior of the container must be smooth with no protrusions that the animal can bite or scratch to cause damage to the integrity of the container in any way.

The whole of one end of the container must be open, covered with bars, weld-mesh or smooth expanded metal that is securely fixed to the container so that the animal cannot dislodge it.

Handling Spacer Bars/Handles must be provided along the middle of both long sides of the container (for large or/and heavy containers).


The floor must be solid and leak-proof.


The roof must be solid but ventilation holes are allowed over the whole surface provided that they do not reduce the integrity or strength of the roof itself.


The door must form the whole of one end of the container. It can be either sliding or hinged. There must be adequate means of fastening and sealing for those containers destined for where sealing is required. Large doors will require additional hinges and two or three secure means of fastening to be fully secure.

The door must be constructed of welded or cast metal of sufficient gauge or thickness to preclude the animal from bending or distorting the door. Doors made of plastic material are not allowed.

For rigid plastic containers, the door hinge and locking pins must engage the container by at least 16mm beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the door opening where the pins are fitted.

The shipper must ensure that all hardware and fasteners are in place and serviceable.


Ventilation is provided by an open end to the container (which can be the door) and by ventilation openings of a minimum of 25mm over the upper two thirds of the opposite end and the remaining two sides, at a distance of 100mm from centre to centre of each opening.

In the case of specially constructed large dog containers, closely spaced metal bars or double weld-mesh must cover the open end with 10mm spacing between the meshes.

The total ventilated area must be at least 16% of the total surface of the four sides. The provision of additional holes on the roof or sides of the container or larger mesh covered holes in order to increase the ventilation is permitted.

All openings must be nose and paw-proof, in the case of cats and small dogs these may have to be covered with mesh. It is very important that no animal has any surface or edge at which it can gnaw or scratch.

Feed and Water Containers

Water container must be present within the container with outside access for filling. Food containers must be present either within the container, if sealed, or attached to it for use in cases of delay.

Marking & Labelling

The shipper will ensure that IATA labels are applied on each live animal container. Each container must be of a size that there is adequate space to affix all required marking and labels. You should affix special feeding and watering instructions and contact and address details to the container. A green "Live Animals" label is mandatory on all live animals consignments. "This Way Up" labels are also mandatory and must be placed on all three sides of the container whenever possible. The label can be imprinted on the container.


Tranquilised/Sedated animals will not be accepted on any flight. (this is due to the effects of tranquilisers on animals at high altitudes are unpredictable). (there are some herbal remedies available on the market, you should consult your vet.)

Preparations before despatch

Feed the animals only a light meal and a small drink a few hours before despatch, as it is better for your pet to travel on an empty stomach.You should give it some exercise, and time to relieve itself.

These are illustrations of the type of travel kennel that are approved for the carriage on flights. If it is not of this type of construction - airlines will be unable to accept the Pet for carriage.