This is a post by author Jason Hayward. Jason is general manager for Universal Aviation, U.K., which has an aircraft ground-handling facility in Stansted. Jason is an expert on business aircraft operations in the UK and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Onboard pets may now enter the UK via Stansted (EGSS), and this is great news for many UK-bound business aircraft operators. There are, however, procedures and specific restrictions to consider, so it’s important to confirm all requirements with your ground handler in advance of travel.
Here’s an overview of what you need to know:
1. Pet travel via EGSS was only recently approved
Pet access into the UK via EGSS was approved, by regulation, on Feb. 25, 2013. Previously, the only UK airports authorized to accept properly documented pets had been Biggin Hill (EGKB), Gatwick (EGKK), Heathrow (EGLL), Cambridge (EGSC), Manchester (EGCC) and Doncaster (EGCN).
2. Only certain pets may enter the UK
Current regulations and restrictions only allow cats, dogs and ferrets into the country from outside the European Union (EU). There are, however, certain restrictions to be mindful of. Particular breeds and types of dogs – such as certain types of pit bulls – are not allowed into the UK. The cat category covers common domestic cats. If you’re operating within the EU, opportunities for pet transport are expanded to include reptiles, birds and amphibians. Still, some restrictions apply. Certain breeds of sub-Saharan squirrels – including several species of flying squirrels – are banned, even though they may be currently in the EU.
3. Certain requirements must be met
The process for bringing animals into the UK is the same, whether the animals are coming from within or outside the EU. All pets must possess pet passports, animals must be micro-chipped, and all veterinarian records need to be provided and up-to-date. If a rabies shot is required, it must be administered at least 21 days prior to travel. Dogs must be treated for tapeworm between one and five days prior to travel and have documentation to confirm that. Note that rabies and tapeworm requirements do not apply for pets that reside within the EU. If those steps are not strictly followed, the animal will be quarantined. If a banned pet is brought into the country, there will be a fine, the animal will be quarantined at the owner’s expense and, in most cases, will not be returned to the owner.
4. You must be an approved carrier in order to bring in pets
Operators may only transport approved pets into UK pet-nominated airports if they’re "approved carriers." To become an approved carrier, you must register online with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and list the airports you intend to enter. The process takes about two weeks, and you may select as many pet-approved airports as you like. Registration covers all aircraft in your fleet, with no expiry date, and is available for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. Your ground handler can assist with the process. Also, for passengers looking for approved carriers, DEFRA maintains a list that provides that information.
5. Do not land at non-approved airports with onboard pets
If you land with your pet at a location that is not an approved airport, your pet will not be permitted into the UK. All approved carriers with pets onboard must land at authorized airports for pet entry.
6. Be aware of notification procedures
Prior to the day of operation – and preferably 48 hours prior to travel – advise your ground handler that a pet will be brought onboard and provide full pet information. Your ground handler will notify appropriate authorities and provide both the carrier license (an approved carrier) and pet passport information. A background check will be conducted, and, upon arrival, the animal will be checked and have its microchip scanned. This process only takes a few minutes and must be done onboard the aircraft. No departure clearance for the animal is needed. Animals may be cleared at EGSS 24 hours a day with prior notification. Note that EGKB is not available 24 hours for pet clearance, and both EGLL and EGKK are subject to airport slot availability.
7. Ensure that no documentation is missing
If you do not have all the required pet documents onboard – even if they have been forwarded to the ground handler in advance – the animal will be subject to quarantine for four months. Keep in mind, also, that even if you have the required documentation on hand but have not provided proper advance notification, the animal clearance cannot be accomplished.
8. Be aware of tech stop restrictions with onboard pets
Aircraft that are not approved carriers and/or are carrying undocumented pets are permitted to tech stop in the UK. However, in such cases, no trash of any kind may be removed from the aircraft, and the animal will not be permitted off the aircraft for any purpose.
9. Additional reading
- Practical Considerations When the Fur Flies: Flying with Pets in Business Aviation
- In-Flight Safety When the Fur Flies – Pet Safety and Business Aviation
Pet entry requirements for the UK are among the strictest in the world. When traveling with a pet to this location, ensure that you’re an "approved carrier," that proper advance notification for pet clearance has been provided and that all required documentation is available onboard.
If you have any questions about this article or would like to discuss your next trip to EGSS, contact me at email@example.com.
Category : Best Practice
About Jason Hayward
Based in London, Jason Hayward, general manager for Universal Aviation U.K., is an expert on ground support and operations into the United Kingdom. He’s been with Universal since 1997 and has more than 17 years’ experience combined in aviation handling and operations. A native of the UK and veteran of the Royal Air Force, Jason has been instrumental in helping establish Universal Aviation offices around the globe. Jason is also an expert on coordinating operations and handling for special events and was Universal’s point person for the ‘12 Games in London. He’s shared his insight on operations and special events with many industry publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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