Emirates SkyCargo has operated the last of 16 flights from Tokyo to Liege transporting the horses who participated in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The 777 freighter carried 40 horses from Haneda Airport to Liege Airport, bringing to a close what Emirates said was one of the largest horse charter movements in the history of air transport.
Emirates SkyCargo transported 316 horses on eight flights and 323 horses on an equal number of flights for the return journey over a period of seven weeks, with the first flight operated on 13 July and the last operated on 2 September.
The 16 flights were operated by three Emirates 777 freighters in a high-density configuration (A6-EFG, A6-EFH and A6-EFK) allowing for between nine and 11 grooms to fly with and look after the horses on each flight. In all, 157 grooms flew on the charter flights between Liege and Tokyo.
A total of 60 Emirates flight deck crew operated the 16 horse charter flights. The air cargo carrier also transported 336 horse stalls, more than 160 tonnes of special equipment and food and drink for the equine champions on its flights.
Emirates SkyCargo worked with Peden Bloodstock and the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) over 18 months to finalise the details of the charter flights and to ensure that the horses would travel in a comfortable and stress-free environment and be ready to hit the ground running on arrival.
“Emirates SkyCargo is delighted to have successfully wrapped up the horse charters for the world’s most prestigious sporting event,” said Emirates’ divisional senior vice president, cargo Nabil Sultan.
“It was a monumental effort from our team requiring months of planning and coordination with our partners and authorities to make sure that these international equine champions were given the best care and flight experience. We drew upon our extensive experience flying horses for sporting events across the world for the last two decades to operate the 16 flights between Liege and Tokyo.”