Whilst many airlines are operational again, not all of them are accepting pets or are not allowing pets on flights with connections. Operational airlines will take pets only to their respective hubs – such as Amsterdam, Dubai, Zurich, etc. Airlines that are allowing pets to travel, they are prioritising the transportation of pets that belong to families being repatriated so we have very thin margins to work within.
Another challenge (especially for pets to the EU and UK) is that pets still need to travel accompanied by their owners within 5 days of their travel so that they qualify for a non-commercial shipment. Many “pawrents” had to go ahead of their pets before we had gone into hard lockdown and have been separated from their beloved pets and are desperate to be reunited. Whilst we are trying to find ways and options, there aren’t always any.
Lufthansa recently announced that they are lifting their live animal embargo (allowing transit shipments through Frankfurt). We were expecting to be up and running out of Johannesburg by the 2nd of June, only to be stopped by the SA government. They are hoping to be allowed to operate from the middle of June.
At this point in time, nothing is concrete as flights are changing and being cancelled or even prioritising other cargo with short notice.
These issues are being experienced worldwide as mentioned in this very interesting article.
Our advice to pet owners looking to travel during this time is to hold off (if possible) until both SA begin to get lower in lockdown levels (from level 3 our state vets will start endorsing again) and the airline routings/options aren’t as fluid.
We are here and we are trying to help all pet “pawrents” who are excited to have their pets home. In addition, we ask that all our clients take note that the airline rates are based on the Rand/Dollar exchange rate and, because the Rand has weakened so much, there is an increase across the board.
We are here to help and will continue to prioritise both our clients and their beautiful fur-babies. This won’t last forever. 😊