Pets are hightailing it out of Hong Kong—in private jets, no less.
In the wake of Covid-19, many people have decided to leave the ultra-modern metropolis and take their fur babies with them. As a result, private aviation outfits offering dedicated “pet flights” are booming, as reported by CNN.
For context, the exodus is primarily due to Hong Kong’s stringent quarantine rules. In fact, more than 40 percent of ex-pats surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong last year said they might leave the city and relocate elsewhere on account of the Government’s draconian Covid-19 policies. Of course, any beloved pets simply must move, too.
Top Stars Air is one such private aviation firm catering to the influx of furry travels from Hong Kong. Founder and director Olga Radlynskaf told CNN that the airline has pivoted from private flights for business execs toward group rentals for pet flights. She estimates that the company’s pet transport business has grown 700 percent since the beginning of the pandemic.
With the precarious position of commercial airlines and the widespread cancellation of flights due to the omicron variant, private jet travel is proving to be far more reliable. Furthermore, private aviation companies work closely with owners to ensure each animal has the correct paperwork, carrier and vaccinations, while commercial airlines generally have stricter policies about how pets can travel and aren’t able to offer such hands-on service.
There has been a surge in four-legged jet-setters stateside, as well, with two of the largest aviation firms reporting a significant uptick in pet passengers. NetJets, which hosted 20,000 pets in 2019, welcomed 4,000 more pets on fewer flights in 2020, while VistaJet reports an 86 percent jump in pet travel from September 2019 through September 2021.
Aerial Jets also recently arranged a charter on a Gulfstream IVSP, a transatlantic business jet with room for up to 16 passengers, just so one dog could fly from Miami to New York to meet his owner. Hey, who are we to judge?