On their return charter flight, the sky is the limit for cherished pets.
If everything goes according to plan, a 787 Dreamliner charter flight bound for Australia will depart London Heathrow in October with an odd passenger list.
Up to 40 pets will be on board, sharing airplane seats with passengers in the cabin.
The charter flight was created in response to the challenges expats have had transporting their pets to and from Australia. It's a feat that requires rabies tests, import licenses, and reservations at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment's Post-Entry Quarantine facility in Mickleham for the mandatory 10-day quarantine period.
Many dogs, notably snub-nosed types, have also been banned from traveling in cargo holds due to fears that they will have trouble breathing and die.
Joanna Maddison, a West Australian resident, has founded Skye Pet Travel to organize a charter flight from London to Melbourne on October 5 – and back again on October 9 – to move her own dogs and let other Australians to bring theirs home.
The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age both published stories last week about a couple who spent $25,000 bringing their two rescue cats from Malaysia to Australia.
A single passenger and one pet ticket from Melbourne to London on Maddison's charter costs $10,000. Six economy class seats are secured, and a pet box can be secured to one row of seats. It would cost $11,500 to transport two passengers and one pet.
Once the plane is airborne, pets can come out of the box, Maddison explained.
The health and safety worker, who has never organized a charter flight before, intends to fly back to Britain with her husband Liam, where they will live with their Siberian huskies and malamute-cross, Skye, Jazz, and Roux
I didn't want to put them through the ordeal of traveling by cargo and having to spend the night in a foreign country. When it comes to their well-being, I am an anxious person, Maddison explained.
She is in talks with a charter company and hopes to sign a deal for a 787 Dreamliner operated by a Star Alliance member in the coming weeks.
Maddison said she had contacted the Post-Entry Quarantine facility to prepare for the entry of a large number of pets, but that final details would not be finalized until two months before the trip.
Currently, 65% of seats on each leg have been reserved, but Maddison requires 100% for the flights to take place.
The margins are razor-thin," Maddison added. This is something very important to my heart — there should be more options for pets because they are our family.
Many in the community, however, are skeptical that Skye Pet Travel will be able to overcome the tremendous logistical challenges. Skye Pet Travel was kicked out of a Facebook group for breaking the community's no-advertising rule.
Misty, a four-year-old British Shorthair colorpoint, and Molly, a four-year-old French bulldog and old tyme bulldog-cross, are Allison Cranwell and David Weight's pets.
There are hazards because it has never been done before, said Allison Cranwell, who is planning to fly Misty, their four-year-old British shorthair colorpoint cat, and Molly, a four-year-old French bulldog and old tyme bulldog-cross, from London to Australia with her husband David Weight.
We vowed they were ours for life when we received them. We intentionally put our pets through this because we don't want to leave them behind, said Cranwell, a contracts administrator.
Cranwell estimates that the charter flight will cost about the same as the couple's relocation and freight travel. The additional cost is a minimal fee to pay for the pets' health.
She noted the time-consuming procedure of obtaining rabies vaccines, tests, and results, as well as the 180-day wait before travelling. In addition, you'll need import permissions and a reservation at the Post-Entry Quarantine facility. Any of the numerous milestones could collapse at any time.
The charter operator will handle aircraft logistics and permits, and all import permits and quarantine reservations must be made at least two months in advance of arrival.
It has found a company that will accept pets in the plane's cabin.
Maddison claims that her organization is working with Airpets UK to guarantee that all animal import documentation is in order, including a vet schedule with all vaccination and test needs, a health certificate with parasite treatment, and an airway bill document.