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Air Partner lion relocation flight is a roaring success

Air Partner - 18 Jul 2018


Air Partner, the global aviation services group, was recently called upon to assist in the successful relocation of a lion on behalf of the Born Free Foundation.

The lion cub “King” was discovered in a Paris apartment in October last year, where he had been kept illegally as an exotic pet and neglected by his owner. Since then, he had been living temporarily at Natuurhulpcentrum rescue centre in Belgium but was recently found a new permanent home at Born Free’s Big Cat Rescue Centre at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Air Partner was tasked with transporting the big cat from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth on a chartered aircraft, from where he made the hour-long journey to Shamwari.

Air Partner’s freight team was on hand at all times to assist with the complex custom clearing process in Johannesburg and ensure a smooth transition from King’s initial commercial flight on Kenya Airways to the chartered Beech 1900 for the next leg of his journey. The turboprop was chosen for its suitable cargo size, which allowed two vets to travel alongside the lion with access at all times. Ensuring the safe loading and unloading of King was paramount, as was his health and welfare.

Mike Hill, Director of Freight, said: “We applaud the amazing work that Born Free does in the field of animal protection and were honoured to have played a role in this rescue mission to bring King to Shamwari, where he will be given expert care for rest of his life. We pride ourselves on our ability to handle every kind of cargo, however sensitive or valuable, and – as always – my thanks go to my team for their hard work and dedication.”

Maggie Balaskas, Animal Rescue and Care Manager at the Born Free Foundation, commented: “We were delighted that Air Partner was able to help us with this part of King’s life changing journey. King is already settling into his new home at our Big Cat Rescue Centre at Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa – he is exploring his new surroundings and is intrigued by all the new sights and smells around him. King is one of the few lucky ones: we simply don’t know how many other wild animals are being kept illegally as pets across Europe. Born Free will continue to work hard to ensure that wild animals are kept where they belong – in the wild”.

A video of King being released into his enclosure can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/27942768

 Air Partner Freight charters aircraft of every size to fly cargo anywhere, at any time, whatever its weight, size or shape. Serving freight forwarders, governments, relief and humanitarian organisations, the freight team provides bespoke air charter and On Board Courier (OBC) solutions to meet a wide range of transport requirements. From urgent ‘go now’ requirements moving small quantities of automotive spare parts, through to the most complex project cargo shipments taking several months to plan, Air Partner Freight has the skills, experience and expertise to ensure shipments are handled securely and reliably. Air Partner Freight has cargo specialists in the UK, USA, Germany, France, Poland and Turkey, who provide strength of knowledge by utilising all types of aircraft for tailored cargo charter services.