Manston gallops into new market
A £250,000 investment at Manston means that Kent’s international airport can now accept flights carrying horses and is optimistic it will welcome competitors for the 2012 London Games.
The new Equine Border Inspection Post (E-BIP) is fully licensed for the importation of horses, and other animals, into the European Union (EU) by UK Animal Health, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and EU Animal Control in Brussels.
The E-BIP was officially opened on February 24, by Lady Suzy Gale, a founder member of Animals Worldwide, an animal welfare charity.The new facility can house up to 10 horses at any one time and has a dedicated quarantine stable, with a separate inspection stable offering state-of-the-art equipment. Manston has also commissioned Quex Livery, based nearby at Quex Park, to provide specialist horse handling services, as well as clean-up services.
Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston, said: “This investment is further evidence of our determination to make the airport a commercial success. The new BIP will offer an unparalleled service to the owners of high value thoroughbred horses.”
The E-BIP has already handled two specialist flights involving horses. Allan McQuarrie, Group Manager for Freight Development at Manston, said: “Although the BIP is mainly intended for importing animals into the EU from non-EU states, our first customer was Equine Logistics which involved an export flight transporting 45 ponies to Miami for the polo season.
The first user of the E-BIP was a National Airlines DC8 flight from Manston to Miami and was arranged by Chapman Freeborn, one of the world’s leading air charter service companies.
The Miami departure was followed by another flight carrying 20 racehorses for the Qatari royal family, which were transported on a C17 Qatar Airways aircraft.
Management at the airport believes it could play a key role in transporting horses for equestrian eventsLive at the London Olympics, which are taking place at Greenwich Park, only 58 miles from the airport.
Allan McQuarrie added: “We have offered the facility and the airport’s services to the Olympic Committee as we believe Manston ticks all the boxes with no slot restrictions and no congestion in the air or on the ground. We can also offer customers a fast, professional and efficient service, ensuring the least amount of stress for their animals which have already had a long flight. From the aircraft to the BIP, the distance is less than 300 metres and it is sheltered from aircraft activity by other buildings.”
Lina Churchward, founder of Equine Logistics Company, which specialises in the international transportation of horses by air, said: “The new E-BIP at Manston, along with the unrivalled co-operation of the staff, enabled us to load the horses in a stress free, safe and secure environment. It is without doubt an outstanding facility.”
Manston airport is working together with locally based Quex Park Livery to ensure that experienced staff are on hand to assist with these valuable horses. Dawn Tilley, owner of Quex Park Livery said: “We have worked with the Manston team in terms of trialing the procedures and effectively test driving the facilities to ensure that it works perfectly for future customers and their valuable cargoes. Based just down the road, and with all the necessary equine skills, the Quex Livery is delighted to support the work of the Equine BIP.”