Emirates has transported 247 horses on its freighter aircrafts for the Tokyo Olympics Equestrian dressage event.
The enquine champions were transported on eight flights with 59 grooms, 100 tonnes of special equipment and 20 tonnes of food and drink.
During the flights, the horses were comfortably settled inside 131 specially designed horse stalls.
Takahashi Koji, Administrator of Tokyo International Airport, says the Olympic horses arriving at Haneda airport is a historic occasion.
“It’s a really big night for the airport, and particularly for the cargo team, and we see it as one of the major milestones of the final countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
The first Olympic flight out of Europe saw the horses travelling from Liege in Belgium, where there’s a special airport horse hotel.
The fleets were transported on an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F to Dubai, for a 90-minute refuel and crew change and then on to Tokyo.
The horses flew two per pallet, or flying stable, which is the equivalent of business class. Their comfort and safety was ensured by flying grooms and an on-board veterinarian.
The four-legged passengers were given hay to snack on during the journey.
The complex logistics for this massive airlift have been coordinated by transport agents, Peden Bloodstock, which has been in charge of Olympic and Paralympic horse transport since Rome 1960.
Ingmar De Vos, President for global governing body for equestrian sport FEI, says the smooth trip has allowed the horses to be honed and ready to compete on the sporting world’s biggest stage.
“After all the challenges the world has faced, finally we’re almost there and now it’s only a matter of days before we hear those magical words, let the Games begin!”
Emirates will be operating an additional eight flights for the return journey from Tokyo to Liege.