Over three hundred passengers travelling from Beijing, China to Copenhagen, Denmark, shared their aircraft with two very special visitors this April, as Copenhagen Zoo’s two new giant pandas arrived as belly cargo.
The pandas flew fully awake, each in a 145 cm x 153 cm x 200 cm steel box with a Plexiglas end in the forward compartment of an SAS AB340-300 plane, and were kept cosy, warm and comfortable with a temperature set by the captain in the cockpit. They took the strenuous 15-hour flight in their stride and arrived happy, healthy and keen to settle in in their new home.
Monkeys, medicines and modern art
Pandas are not the only unusual items to travel to Copenhagen as belly cargo. Dogs and cats are the most frequently-transported animals to and from the airport’s veterinary centre, and a variety of live animals are transported as airfreight, including monkeys of all kinds, all requiring specialist handling and planning. Most paintings from well-known painters exhibiting in the city – which in recent years have included the likes of Van Gogh – also come into the city as air freight.
Copenhagen Airport’s cargo facilities are well equipped and include a live animal centre, facilities to support pharmaceutical storage and transport (useful, with Medicon Valley, Scandinavia’s leading life science cluster in the greater Copenhagen, east Denmark and south Sweden areas) and fish, particularly important when shipping from nearby Norway.
To handle other specialist items, there are cargo storage facilities for dangerous goods (flammable liquids, batteries, paints and more), human remains, vegetables, fresh fruit, live animals, valuables, and vulnerable goods. Currently, the airport has a range of new developments in the pipeline that will help facilitate specialist belly cargo transport to an even greater extent, and it can advise on a range of issues relating to it.
To find out more about belly cargo shipping, contact Lars Gotfredsen, Air Cargo Manager, Copenhagen Airport.