Robin Hood Airport has become one of just six airports in the UK to issue a ‘pet passport’, allowing domestic animals to fly abroad with their owners. The scheme, which is run by local cargo firm Anglo European Express (AEE), is designed to ease the burden of having to put pets in quarantine before travel.
The scheme extends to just three types of animals, providing that they can comply with AEE’s stringent acceptance criteria. Dogs, cats, and, perhaps surprisingly, ferrets, are the only creatures that can enjoy the Pet Travel Scheme, so the nation’s cows and tarantulas will have to remain earth-bound for the time being.
Qualifying animals must be fitted with a microchip that stores their identity, and must also complete a nine-month preparation program. "Planning ahead", claims the Robin Hood website, is therefore "essential."
Pets must be immunized against rabies and attend regular booster sessions to guarantee the animal’s resistance to the virus. If Rover is not foaming at the mouth following his final check-up, a qualified Local Veterinary Inspector will issue the dog with a pet passport, valid for as long as the animal remains vaccinated against disease.
At present, the only airline that will carry pets out of Doncaster is Thomson, which means that pet-lovers can only travel to ‘sun and sea’ destinations such as Lanzarote, Alicante, and Rhodes. The budget carrier currently offers a total of 23 routes from Robin Hood, but this figure will fall to around nine when the winter season gets underway.
However, due to the thorough nature of the selection process, it is unlikely that any animal will take to the skies until the summer of next year at the very earliest.
Doncaster’s marketing chief, Jodi Stow, called the pet passport a "unique convenience" and continued to announce that the airport is “thrilled to offer pets and their owners this fantastic service. It is a huge privilege to be one of only a few airports in the UK to be offering the pet passport scheme".
For more information on the Pet Travel Scheme, you can visit this Pet Travel Guide.