Cochin International Airport introduces pet export service

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Kochi, Jun 7 (PTI) The Cochin international Airport has introduced a pet export service, bringing cheer to pet owners moving abroad who cannot bear to leave their beloved animals behind.

On Thursday morning, a Lhasa Apso breed puppy named 'Luka' became the first pet to fly from Kochi to Dubai via Doha, a CIAL release said here.

The pet cargo was handled by Qatar Airways.

Luka is the pet of Rajesh Susheelan and Kavitha Rajesh, originally hailing from Attingal, Thiruvananthapuram.

Rajesh manages a business in Dubai.

With this, Cochin Airport became the only airport in Kerala with the permission to export pets abroad.

To support this 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, it said.

Previously, CIAL had authorisation only for domestic departure and arrival of pets.

Now, with the clearance, pets can be carried as cargo in specially prepared cages to all foreign countries.

Efforts are also underway to obtain permission for the direct import of pet animals from abroad, it said.

To facilitate this, a special 'Animal Quarantine' centre is being established.

In addition to the pet export facility, 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 this service, cargo handling agencies or airlines need to be contacted.

S Suhas, Managing Director of CIAL, emphasised the management's objective to equip Cochin airport with the same standards of facilities found in India's leading airports.

"We are trying to offer a comprehensive package to our 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," Suhas said.

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. PTI TGB HMP SS

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