December 8, 2023

We read so much about the plight of the street animals and what people and groups are doing to help the animals and its good to read of recognition of these activities and we would like to share this news received from Kyrenia Animal Rescue.

Readers mail….
Kyrenia Animal Rescue….

As many of you know the new Istanbul airport opened in April and the phases that are already completed so far are HUGE.

KAR Pet Travel (KPT) has built up a very good working relationship with the Turkish Airlines Cargo Dept – in particular, the Special Cargo Dept who had looked after our travelling pets during their transit at Istanbul. They had been keeping KPT up to date on the new animal satellite facility being built at the new Istanbul Airport. A Mega Hub is currently under construction and will house the permanent animal facility – but it will be some time before construction is completed.

We (KPT) were delighted, as the TRNC busiest animal relocators and only IPATA members, to be invited to visit and inspect the new satellite facility.

The visit took quite some time to organise due to the workloads for both KPT and Special Cargo Istanbul but on October 16th we (Kim Betts and Margaret Ray) went on our inspection visit (at no cost to KAR) of Istanbul Cargo and Special Cargo Depts. It was a long long day (we left home at 05.45 am and returned at 22.35 pm) but there is so much to tell so our apologies for this being such a long post.

The Cargo Dept is several miles from the actual passenger terminal but is still within the airport boundaries. It certainly is NOT walkable

Once there we were met by Cagdas and Enes and had our passports taken (to be returned at the end of the visit), in return we were provided with biometric security passes, high vis vests and industrial ear defenders.

There was then a site familiarisation meeting, safety instructions and conditions plus handouts and then followed lunch and they do have a very good staff canteen! From there we were given a very interesting presentation. Some of the terminology that we use in AVI cargo (live animals) was discussed at length and they were able to show us, in video format that point of the cargo layout and exactly how the animals are moved to and from aircraft to AVI special cargo facility within the main cargo dept. Lots of questions were fully answered with questions from some of KPT pet owners and also some from us.

How long does it take to move them from touch down into their special cargo room/back on their connecting flight?

How are they protected during that transfer from the summer heat and winter rain and cold?

Who has access to the special cargo room? Plus lots more.

They also had many questions for us – what is the average total travel time for our pets? How do we transport them to Ercan? How do we best deal with very scared pets? What do our owners want/expect for their pets? How can they improve?

Then came the site visit and at last we could see for ourselves how the whole thing works in reality – we could see where our precious pets would spend the night – meet the people who had the responsibility of looking after them – see the vehicles and tunnels that would move them around the airport that meant they were not driving amidst the aircraft out on the runways. We also got to meet some of the travelling animals (we had missed our Nancy who had been there the night before !) From cats, dogs, turtles, worms, day old chicks, to the ring tailed Lemur and her babies.

Of all of them, there was great concern and much checking and reporting on 3 puppies who were in a travel box that was too small. for them – a new larger travel box was sourced and they explained that the owner, airline and shipper would incur additional costs and could even be fined.

Security is very strict at each and every part – passes were checked and scanners used at every entry/exit point.
Our hosts were also keen to tell us about Turkish Airlines #MissionRescue -and their involvement with rescue in the wild. They had recently been involved in the rescue and relocation of 4 ex Circus lions from Ukraine to South Africa and also the rescue, rehabilitation, and relocation of an endangered Griffon Vulture (called Dobrila) who was migrating naturally from Serbia but became exhausted and collapsed en route in Sanliurfa Turkey. She was escorted by Turkish Airlines for rehabilitation in Urfa for months and then transported by them to Belgrade for release into her natural habitat.

All in all, it was a most interesting, informative and reassuring day. We all agreed that it had been most enjoyable and so very worthwhile We can pass on our first-hand knowledge and experience to our pet owners – which will hopefully help them feel happier about their pet’s travel arrangements.

We have also made new friends and thank them for a very well organised, helpful and informative visit.

To Cagdas and Enes and all of the staff at Istanbul Cargo – thank you very much.

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