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All you need to know about international pet travel during the Coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has brought in a global lockdown and disrupted travel plans of pets and people around the world. As the world slowly emerges from the worst of the pandemic, many countries are still fighting the disease. Worldwide airline capacities have dipped considerably, and several countries have not yet reopened their borders to people and pets.

If you have a flight scheduled for your pet or if you are planning pet travel, here’s all you need to know about international pet transport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can my pets fly from Australia to a different country?

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a crisis of gigantic proportions in the airline industry. IATA (International Air Transport Association) estimates that the airline industry globally stands to lose more than US$ 252 billion in 2020. Many airlines are seeing an enormous drop in flight capacity, with some airlines cutting up to 90% of their capacities. Flight capacities out of Australia post-COVID-19 have reduced significantly too.

Pets can now fly out of Australia to certain locations such as Auckland, London, Hong Kong and limited destinations in the United States and Europe. The reduced flight capacity means there are fewer flights available to fly you and your pet out of Australia. Pet dogs and cats are now flying out on cargo planes that carry medical goods to different countries.

Though the flight capacities are significantly reduced, international pet travel from Australia is possible with careful management and logistics. Due to very low supply and the drastic reduction of airline capacity, we at Petraveller, are working hard to secure space for all our pet clients. Our existing customers will be contacted on priority as soon as space is available for pets to fly out of the country.

Can I bring my pet to Australia from another country?

Pets can fly into Australia on airlines that are accepting pets on board, such as Emirates and Qatar Airways. These flights are also running at reduced capacities, and it might not be possible to secure space for your pet immediately. Contact Petraveller to begin the process of securing your reservation.

Your pet must enter the country only in Melbourne and spend mandatory quarantine at the Mickleham Quarantine Centre for ten days. Quarantine rules in Australia remain the same for pets, and no changes have been made for pets post-COVID-19. Remember to make sure your pet meets all Australian pet import regulations before travelling to the country.

Can I take my pet to New Zealand from Australia?

Currently, due to COVID-19 restrictions, your pet dog or cat can travel only to Auckland from Australia. Other popular destinations such as Christchurch and Wellington have been closed for pets until further notice. Flights to Auckland have been resumed out of Sydney and Melbourne as of now. Pets can fly from Sydney to Auckland on the Qantas freighter aircraft QF7523 arriving at 03:10am.

Can I travel on a domestic flight in Australia with my pet?

Domestic airlines in Australia have also reduced the volume of flights by almost 90 per cent. If you or your local pet travel agency can secure space for your pet on the plane, domestic pet travel is possible under these conditions.

Is Virgin Australia still transporting pets?

Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration after the global shutdown due to the COVID crisis. However, the airline is still operating at a strictly reduced capacity on its scheduled international and domestic routes.

If you have a booking with Virgin Australia for your pet, the airline will fly your pet as scheduled, as long as the flight is not cancelled. Please check with the airline or your local pet travel agency for further information.

I have already booked my pet’s travel with Petraveller. What are my next steps?

Petraveller will work with the airline to allocate space for your pet dog or cat. Since many airlines are running on diminished capacities, finding a flight that matches your preference may take a little longer than usual. We will contact you as soon as we find a suitable flight for your pet and make sure your pet reaches their new home happy and safe.

The reduced capacity of flights makes it harder to book space for your pet. It is a good idea to wait for the confirmation of your pet’s booking before making your own travel arrangements if your pet’s travel is dependent on yours.

When are the flight restrictions expected to lift in Australia?

Australian COVID-19 cases are on the decline, and as the COVID-19 curve flattens in the country, confidence with air travel will increase and government restrictions will reduce. Currently, passengers flying to Australia must undergo mandatory institutional quarantine of 14 days. As the number of COVID-19 cases around the world drop, the quarantine will be eliminated and flight restrictions will be gradually lifted.

Are there any changes to pet import regulations due to COVID-19?

Medical requirements for pets travelling outside Australia remain the same; there are no additional tests required for pets due to COVID-19. Some countries, however, have social distancing norms in place during the pick-up of your pet from the airport.

  • In Auckland, the general public is not allowed to pick up pets at the quarantine centre or the airport. It is mandatory to engage the services of an authorised pet travel agent to collect the dog or cat on behalf of the pet parent.
  • In London, the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre has social distancing regulations in place and has restrictions on the number of people allowed at a time to collect their pet. Remember to call ahead and be prepared for longer wait times. The Centre is not accepting live animal shipments from Friday evening (22.00) to Monday morning (06.00) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Pets flying to UAE will need a COVID-19 Annexe Certificate endorsed by the government per MOCCAE guidelines. Petraveller will arrange for the certificate if your pet is flying with us.

Petraveller will maintain social distancing regulations during pet pick-up. Our pet concierge will enquire if anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 or has flu-like symptoms. We will request that an assigned family member hands over the pet to the concierge.

If your pet is travelling to a country in Europe and needs a vet visit before flying, be prepared for longer wait times at the vet because of necessary social distancing. You will need to call ahead and make an appointment before visiting the vet.

Call the international pet transport experts

International pet travel can be complicated even in the best of times, but during a global pandemic, it can get stressful and nerve-racking. Coronavirus COVID-19 has created global uncertainty for international pet transport. Pet import regulations have become fluid, with constant changes and updates depending on the COVID-19 conditions in the origin and destination countries.

Flight restrictions are easing up, and countries around the world are opening the borders for pets and people gradually. Pet travel is possible to more and more destinations but may take longer due to the diminished capacity of the airlines.

If you are planning to travel with your pet, or if you already have a booking for your pet with us, contact the team at Petraveller for the latest advice on all available routes on 1300 644 115 or email us at flying@petraveller.com.au