Ukraine International Airlines flies its fastest passengers to Tbilisi


UIA transport a pair of cheetahs from South Africa on their scheduled flights from Zurich to Tbilisi via Kyiv

Passengers on flights number PS470 from Zurich  to Kyiv and PS727 from Kyiv to Tbilisi on the 30th of September 2008 were unaware that they were traveling in exulted company.  In the hold were two of the fastest animals on earth.  A pair of African cheetahs destined for the Tbilisi Zoo were airlifted from Johannesburg to Zurich and then entrusted to UIA for the second and third legs of this rather long journey.

UIA has a long established working relationship with zoological parks around the world and have developed specific expertise in the handling of live cargos.  It is this expertise that was used to the full in this operation as the animals had to be handled with extreme care not simply because they are wild cats but because of the climatic changes, the stress of flying and the need for regular hydration.

Ukraine International Airlines enjoys long-term cooperation with Tbilisi Zoo.  Earlier this year a number of other rare species of deer, sea lions and others have been transported.  UIA is the only Ukrainian airline that has the experience and the range of transport services within its Cargo Solutions Portfolio necessary for the professionally supervised handling of live animals. 

The airline is also certified to carry perishables in controlled temperatures, bulky and oversized cargoes, goods internationally termed as dangerous and items of high value in a safe and confidential transport pipeline.  The recent addition the fuel-efficient Boeing 737-300SF freighter aircraft put into operation by UIA earlier this year, has substantially increased the airline’s capacities in general and specialized cargo transportation.

“UIA is proud to be a partner of Tbilisi Zoo and to support its preservation work,” said Peter Kukharchuk, UIA’s Cargo and Mail Director.  “We are happy to share our expertise in transporting such special cargoes and to make sure that the journey of the animals is safe and as stress-free as possible. Now that we have our Boeing freighter we can look at moving even larger animals.”

“The arrival of the cheetahs has generated a lot of excitement among our visitors, especially the children,” pointed out the Tbilisi Zoo administration.  “We always strive to enlarge our collection in an effort to develop supportive and constructive attitude to nature especially among our younger audiences.  We thank everyone at UIA for their professionalism and look forward to productive cooperation in the future.”