Doha, Qatar: Qatar Airways Cargo inaugurated its new Animal Centre yesterday, the largest animal facility in the world spanning 5,260 sqm. located near Hamad International Airport and Qatar Airways Aircraft Maintenance Hangar.

As the largest animal carrier globally, Qatar Airways Cargo reaffirmed its commitment to animal welfare by investing in the new centre. Along with the opening, it also relaunched its Next Generation Live product, setting new benchmarks in the transport of live animals.

Qatar Airways Cargo Chief Officer Cargo, Mark Drusch, stressed the emotional aspect of animal travel: “We have built here now a 5-star facility for any of the live animals that are transporting, and we didn’t just spend a lot of money to build this facility - physical facility. We invested a lot of thinking - how do we address the emotional needs of animals? Because when they’re travelling - it’s stressful, we’ve done everything possible to bring down that stress level for animals so that they are having a better experience than they would’ve anywhere else,” Drusch told The Peninsula.

“We are a 5-star airline, we’ve got a 5-star airport, we now have a 5-star animal facility that I think all of you will be more than comfortable sending your pets in the future.”

The facility, four and a half years in planning, features 24/7 veterinary care and advanced amenities tailored to different animal needs. It can accommodate 140 dog kennels, and 40 cat kennels. There is also 24 horse stables distributed in four zones with separate airflows for proper segregation.

It also has speciality areas catering to a range of animals, including day-old chicks, birds, fish, reptiles, and exotic species.

The Advanced Animal Centre boasts cutting-edge technology, including sophisticated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and multiple docks for efficient operation. With a capacity for up to 47 Unit Load Device (ULD) positions, the facility is equipped to handle diverse animal transportation needs with precision and care.

Moreover, Drusch underscored Qatar Airways Cargo’s holistic approach to animal care: “We recognise our responsibility extends far beyond the mere transportation of animals. We are committed to advocating for their welfare globally, ensuring our operations respect and contribute positively to their overall well-being. This holistic approach to animal care is a fundamental part of our ethos, driving us to innovate and lead in the industry.”

In 2023, Qatar Airways Cargo has flown over 550,000 animals, including 10,000 horses.

Meanwhile, the Next Generation Live product has new enhancements such as the Kennel Calculator Tool, which determines the ideal kennel size, ensuring comfort and compliance with IATA Live Animals Regulations (LAR); Streamlined Customer Service: Procedures have been refined for faster and more efficient customer interactions with dedicated Control Tower for the most sensitive shipments; Digitalised IATA LAR Training: Ensures rapid compliance and enhances staff proficiency in animal handling; and Pet Card Service: Continues to offer a personal touch by sharing updates and photos of pets during transit, enhancing customer experience and peace of mind.

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