British Airways has temporarily suspended the transportation of dogs in the cargo hold of its aircraft.
The suspension was put into place after a dog was found, upon arrival at London Heathrow Airport, to be travelling in a cage too small for its size.
The airline has stated that while the dog was unharmed, it will not accept new cargo bookings for dogs while an investigation is pending.
“We take the responsibility of transporting and caring for animals travelling with us extremely seriously,” a spokesperson for British Airways said.
According to IAG Cargo, which handles animal transportation for the airline, a pet’s owner or person in charge of the booking (such as an agent) is responsible for supplying a correctly-sized cage; not the airline.
A spokesperson for IAG Cargo commented: “[pet] owners supply crates for animals when they book to travel with IAG Cargo. If animals are booked through an agent, then the agent supplies the crate.”
IAG added: “We give clear information to owners on the size requirements for animals [via a] link to the IAG website with sizes etc.
“All our standards for travel are set by IATA’s live animal regulations, which includes crate sizes based on the size of the animal.”
IATA’s regulations state that cages must be large enough to allow the animal to stand, sit upright, and lie down in a natural position.
The suspension only applies to dogs travelling in the cargo hold on British Airways flights; not all animals.
The airline has not revealed the breed of the dog involved in the incident.