A rather special flight is set to take place at the massive cost of AUS $100,000 (US$70,458). The flight will leave Vancouver carrying some 70 pets belonging to Australian nationals. The specially charted flight will reunite the pets with their owners after months of separation due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
When the pandemic hit earlier this year, there was a rush to return home. Foreign nationals all over the world paid hugely inflated prices for plane tickets to their home nations. In all the rush and confusion, many people who live abroad were forced to leave their pets behind with friends or in care facilities.
In particular, Australian’s living in Canada were forced to head home without their furry friends. But now, after more than six months apart, a reunion is on the horizon. The flight is the result of a joint effort by Canadian company Worldwide Animal Travel and Australian company JetPets. The two companies have worked together to charter an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Melbourne. Worldwide Animal Travel spoke to 9News and said,
“Worldwide Animal Travel and Jetpets have partnered, in conjunction with Air Canada and the Australian quarantine team to facilitate this bulk movement and help reunite pets and their families across the globe from Vancouver to Melbourne. Nothing is more pleasing for our team than a safe and happy family reunion.”
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Why is it so hard to get pets home?
Besides the fact that flights have been severely restricted in the past few months and, therefore, difficult to come by, getting pets home is extra stressful. As we’ve been reporting, cargo flights have been dominated by protective equipment and medical supplies for the past year.
Aside from trying to find space on a flight, most countries have quarantine rules that apply for pets and people. Until recently, Melbourne was the only Australian airport that could accept pets. The city’s quarantine facility was fully booked for months, meaning bringing a pet home was next to impossible.
Meet the pets
However, recent loosening of restrictions has meant that Sydney airport can now accept pets, so space has opened up in Melbourne. While the full details of the flight are unknown, there are some passengers who are sure to be onboard.
According to 9News, Poochini the pug, and Roxie the Jack Russell, will both be flying later this week. The two dogs belong to Australian Allan Smith, who flew home to Australia at the end of last year after 15 years in Canada. The dogs were scheduled to follow within months but are still living the Canadian life without their owners. Mr Smith is expecting to pay almost AU$20,000 (US$14,000) to get them home.
And Poochini and Roxie have company in the form of two German Shepherds called Kaos and Gidget. The two German Shepherds belong to a couple from Perth who were due to fly home in March. When they found out their beloved pets could not return with them, they chose to remain in Canada with the animals. The two German Shepherd traveling with their owners will cost over AU$10,000 (US$7,000) to fly home.
The one-off flight is thought to be costing over AU$100,000 in total for the pet owners. For many, this is a small price to pay to be reunited with their furry family members.