Bringing cheers to pet owners who could not carry their pets while going abroad, Cochin International Airport Ltd has started a facility to export pets through the airport.

‘Luka’, a Lhasa Apso breed puppy is the first pet to fly from Kochi to Dubai via Doha. The pet cargo was handled by Qatar Airways. Luka is the pet of Rajesh Susheelan and Kavitha Rajesh, a businessman in Dubai hailing from Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram.

With this clearance, Cochin Airport became the only airport in Kerala with the permission to export pets abroad. To support the service, CIAL has established a 24-hour air-conditioned pet station, a special cargo section, veterinary doctor on call, a customs clearance centre and a facilitation centre for individuals accompanying pets for export.

Previously, CIAL had authorisation only for domestic departure and arrival for the pets. Now, with the clearance, pets can be carried as cargo in specially prepared cages to all countries. Efforts are also underway to obtain permission for the direct import of pet animals from abroad. To facilitate this, a special ‘Animal Quarantine’ centre is being established, officials said.

CIAL already has the permission to export and import fruits and plants. To facilitate this, a ‘Plant Quarantine’ centre is operational near the cargo section. To avail the service, cargo handling agencies or airlines need to be contacted.

S. Suhas IAS, Managing Director of CIAL said, “we are trying to offer a comprehensive package to passengers. As part of this, all passenger touch points have been automated and various value-added facilities have been established. The implementation of the animal import facility is underway. Also, sophisticated security systems like full body scanners will be introduced soon”, said Suhas.

CIAL now has authorisation from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to import drugs and cosmetics, enabling stockists to import them and stock them in bulk quantities. This marks a significant change from previous limitations, where only limited quantities could be imported through special permissions.