Chapman Freeborn Airchartering arranged a charter of a B747-200F with MK Airlines to transport 73 showjumping horses from the Netherlands to a major showcase event in Doha, Qatar.
The horses, valued at ‘320 million, made the return trip to Doha from Maastricht Aachen Airport, for whom the operation represented the single biggest movement of horses they have done to date. It is believed to be one of the largest flights of showjumping horses ever carried out worldwide.
Chapman Freeborn received the request from Qatar Airways, which had been tasked with ensuring the safe transportation of the horses for the Global Champions Tour, a worldwide event organized by the Federation Equestre Internationale.
The operation represented a major logistical challenge, with preparations for the charter beginning long before the flight date, in cooperation with Qatar Airways, Animal Flight Services and Maastricht Aachen Airport.
Chapman Freeborn’s Lesley Cripps and Niels Boelens arranged for an MK Airlines B747-200F aircraft for the return flight, and were able to assist with coordinating the extensive documentation and permits required for such a shipment.
With the further help of MK Airlines’ commercial executive Rob Hotchkiss, the aircraft configuration was adapted so the horses could be accompanied by a team of 13 grooms and a vet, to further ensure their safety and well being during the flight.
On the day of the flight Chapman Freeborn were on hand to fully oversee the loading of the aircraft in Maastricht, where the horses were placed into secure stalls, before being carefully eased onto the aircraft.
The charter departed on schedule, watched by an array of media, including cameras and reporters from national TV news.
Lesley Cripps, cargo charter sales manager for Chapman Freeborn UK said, ‘Experience and meticulous planning is key to any successful cargo charter operation, and this is especially true when transporting live animals.
‘As is always the case, the welfare of the horses was of paramount importance throughout this operation. Together with the other professionals involved, we successfully ensured the whole charter was conducted as swiftly and smoothly as possible.’
Rob Hotchkiss from MK Airlines, said, ‘We were delighted to assist this shipment, which highlighted the care we take when moving not only valuable consignments, but in this case such a prestigious live cargo.’
Sander Heijmans, CEO of Maastricht Aachen Airport and Maastricht Handling Services, added, ‘In spring 2009 we will operate from a new 20,000m2 cargo terminal which will allow us to improve our offering further. As the terminal is almost triple the size of our current one we are looking forward to breaking the record many times in the years to come.’