China Airlines Flies Thousands Of Bees To Vancouver

On the evening of April 8th, one of China Airlines’ A350-900s arrived in Vancouver from Taipei carrying thousands of bees. The shipment of bees, originating in Australia, will be released at various locations across the province of British Columbia to pollinate fruit trees.

China Airlines Flies Thousands Of Bees To Vancouver
The China Airlines aircraft transporting the bees was one of its 14 Airbus A350-900s. Photo: itdccba via Wikimedia Commons 


Vancouver International Airport’s (YVR) communications team had a fun time writing up bee-related puns for its social media channels. The airport posted the delivery on both its Twitter (below) and Instagram channels.

The bees, with the assistance of China Airlines, flew all the way from Australia via the carrier’s hub at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. YVR notes that the bees were imported to pollinate fruit trees in strategic locations across British Columbia.

The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture notes that Canadian beekeepers can import queens and packaged bees from several approved sources. However, all bee imports into Canada require an Import Permit issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The Ministry of Agriculture has approved the import of bee queens from the source countries of New Zealand, Australia, California, and Hawaii. Packages of bees can be sourced from New Zealand and Australia.

Flight details

The final transoceanic flight ferrying the precious cargo was China Airlines’ flight CI32 from Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) to Vancouver International (YVR). The aircraft departed Taipei on Thursday, April 8th at 23:42 local time and arrived slightly ahead of schedule in Vancouver at 18:53 local time.

China Airlines Flies Thousands Of Bees To Vancouver
The transpacific journey lasted a total of 10 hours and 11 minutes. Photo:

Operating CI32 was the Airbus A350-900 registered as B-18909, China Airlines’ eighth A350,  delivered from Airbus in September 2017. The aircraft is configured with a 32-seat business class, a premium economy cabin with 31 seats, and 243 economy seats.

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The transport of animals on commercial aircraft

Transporting live animals is a fairly regular practice for cargo carriers. It’s also something that Simple Flying has covered extensively whenever related stories arise.

Unfortunately, it’s usually horror stories where animal transportation goes wrong that end up getting the media’s attention.

For example, in June of 2020, 38 puppies were found dead after being transported on a Ukraine International Airlines flight from Kyiv to Toronto. The aircraft was carrying around 500 puppies when it arrived in Canada.

Months later, in October, we reported that 26,000 baby chicks were abandoned at Madrid Barajas Airport. Only approximately 3,000 were still alive once the shipment was discovered. The chicks, just days old, had been left in the cargo terminal in overcrowded conditions, with no food or water for three days before they were discovered. In this situation, the cargo operator responsible for the shipment left the young birds in the terminal after the cardboard containers carrying them became wet and damaged.

It seems that, due to bad weather, the cardboard containers that were being used to transport the chicks got soaked and broke. Rather than finding another means of housing the chicks, the cargo operator simply left them in the terminal.

Thankfully though, this week’s story of bees being transported across the Pacific Ocean had a happy ending.

What’s the strangest cargo shipment you’ve heard of on a commercial aircraft? Let us know in the comments.