Airlink Cargo understands the importance of the wellbeing of your animals; therefore our staff are trained in the IATA Live Animal Regulations to ensure that the necessary care is taken when transporting your animal’s airport-to-airport. We handle a wide variety of Live Animals such as domestic pets; reptiles; amphibians and birds, so rest assured that our staff will adequately handle your animals.

We can transport animals around South African and Southern African Airports; and facilitates the movement of live animals from our outstations to various International airports.

Below, are some specifications for the safe carriage of cats and dogs:

A booking is required 24 hours in advance for domestic – and 48 hours in advance for international live animal shipments. The cut-off time for accepting live animals is 2h15min prior to departure.

An original inoculation booklet must accompany each animal with proof of all required vaccinations. Rabies vaccination is required at 12 weeks of age and again at 12 months and every consecutive year thereafter.

Container requirements
The illustrations shown in this Container Requirement are examples only and are applicable to Cats and Dogs.

Container construction
Rigid plastic containers are suitable for most breeds of dog but their acceptability is at the discretion of the carrier. Some rigid plastic containers may not be suitable for large dogs, or dogs that are aggressive. Specially constructed containers of hardwood, plywood or similar material, with two secure door fasteners on each side, are acceptable.

Each animal contained in the container must have enough space to turn about normally while standing, to sit and sit erect, and to lie in a natural position.

For wooden containers, an outer frame of 2.5 cm x 7.5 cm (1 inch x 3 inch) lumber screwed or bolted together and lined with solid wood or plywood sides is acceptable.

For two part, rigid plastic containers, all hardware must be present and properly installed. For containers made of wood, plywood of a minimum of 12 mm (1/2 inch) or equivalent material must be used to line the outer framework. Side walls must be solid with sufficient ventilation as prescribed. The interior of the container must be smooth with no protrusions that the animal can bite or scratch to cause damage to the integrity of the container in any way.

The whole of the one end of the container must be open, covered with bars, weldmesh or smooth expanded metal which is securely fixed to the container so that the animal cannot dislodge it.

Handling Spacer Bars / Handles
Must be provided along the middle of both long sides of the container.

The floor must be solid and leak-proof.

The roof must be solid, but ventilation holes are allowed over the whole surface provided that they do not reduce the integrity of the strength of the roof itself.

The door must form the whole of one end of the container. It can be either sliding or hinged.

There must be an adequate means of fastening and sealing of container doors with at least two hinges to fully secure the door.

The door must be constructed of plastic, welded or case metal of sufficient gauge or thickness so as they preclude the animal from bending or distorting the door. Doors made of plastic material are permitted, provided that hinges and locking pins are made of metal of sufficient gauge and thickness.

For rigid plastic containers, the door hinge and locking pins must engage the container by at least 1.6 cm (5/8 in) beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the door opening where the pins are fitted.

The shipper must ensure that all hardware and fasteners are in place and serviceable.

Ventilation is provided by an open end to the container (which can be the door) and by ventilation openings of a minimum of 2.5 cm (1 in) over the upper two thirds of the opposite end and the remaining two sides, at a distance of 10 cm (4 in) from centre to centre of each opening.

In the case of specially constructed large dog containers the open end must be covered by closely spaced metal bars or a double weld mesh with 1 cm (1/2 in) spacing between the meshes.

The total ventilated area must be at least 16% of the total surface of the four sides. The provision of additional holes on the roof or sides of the container or larger mesh covered holes in order to increase the ventilation is permitted.

All openings must be nose and paw-proof, in the case of cats and small dogs these may have to be covered with mesh. It is very important that no animal has any surface or edge at which it can gnaw or scratch.

Feed and water containers
Water container must be present within the container with outside access for filling. Food containers must be present either within the container, if sealed, or attached to it for use in cases of delay.

Forklift Spacers
Must be provided for all containers where the total weight with the animal exceeds 60 kg (132 lb).

A green “Live Animals” label / tag or red “Laboratory Animals” label/tag is mandatory on all live animal consignments. “This Way Up” labels/tags are also mandatory and must be placed on all four sides of the container whenever possible. The label or tag can be imprinted on the container.

1. A maximum of two adult animals of comparable size up to 14 kg each, that are used to cohabitation, may be shipped in the same container. Animals over that weight must travel individually.

2. Animals up to six months old from the same litter, up to a maximum quantity of three, may be shipped in the same container/compartment.

Preparations before dispatch Tranquillization of dogs and cats is not recommended.

See Container Requirements at the beginning of the page.

Feed the animal only a light meal and short drink approximately two hours before dispatch and exercise the animal immediately before dispatch.

Snub nose dogs, such as boxers, bulldogs, pekinese and pugs, are affected more than other breeds by rarefied atmosphere and care must be taken to ensure that the front of the container has open bars from the top to the bottom of the box for ventilation. It is essential that the animal be free from respiratory troubles.

Shipment of females in heat (oestrus) is not recommended.

Females with suckling young and unweaned animals will not be accepted for carriage.

Weaned puppies younger than eight weeks will not be accepted due to possible dehydration effects in air transportation. Kittens likewise, younger than eight weeks will not be shipped but it is recommended that a veterinary certificate be provided for those under twelve weeks stating the animal(s) is/are fit to be transported because of their small size, especially as some breeds, renders them more susceptible to the effects of dehydration.

Weaned puppies and kittens may travel well together. The quantity must be related to the size and strength of the individual animal. Avoid shipping a weakling which could be harmed by its companions. Certain national regulations require cats or dogs to be crated individually unless the consignment is a litter over 8 weeks with the mother.

For pet animals, a familiar article in the container helps to placate the animal. The animal�s name must be marked on the outside of the container.

Feeding and watering guide
Animals do not normally require additional feeding during 12 hours following the time of dispatch. If feeding is required due to an unforeseen delay, meat, biscuits and canned pet food must be provided.

General care and loading
Containers of young animals of the same species may be loaded adjacent to each other. Containers with cats and containers with dogs must be kept apart, unless they are used to cohabiting.

Accompanied dogs and cats that are transported in the aircraft hold must comply with these Regulations.

For further information on the carriage of animals by air, kindly contact our Customer Care team for assistance or refer to the IATA Live Animal Regulation and IATA TACT Manual.