Emirates transports Olympic horses from Liege to Tokyo

The carrier will operate eight charter flights to fly 247 horses from Liege to Tokyo, with 36 dressage horses safely landing on the first flight at HND.

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Olympic Dressage horses arrive at Haneda airport, Tokyo (Photo credit:  FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

As the eyes of sporting enthusiasts around the world turn to Tokyo, a group of very special champions are making their way to the Japanese capital on special flights operated by Emirates.

Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, is operating eight charter flights to fly 247 horses from Liege to Tokyo. The first flight saw 36 dressage horses safely landing at Haneda Airport (HND).

A convoy of 11 air-conditioned horse trucks, owned by the Japanese Racing Association, transported the precious equine cargo, including 13,500 kilograms of equipment, on the final transfer from Haneda to Baji Koen where the dressage and show jumping disciplines of the equestrian event will take place.

Olympic Dressage horses arrive at HND (Photo credit:  FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

The airline will operate eight additional flights for the return journey from Tokyo to Liege. Working with the carrier is transport agent Peden Bloodstock, a leading international horse transportation specialist for this charter.

During the flights, two horses will be comfortably settled inside each specially designed horse stall, with Emirates SkyCargo flying a total of 131 horse stalls to transport the 247 horses for this year’s Olympic games.

Joining the horses on the eight flights are 59 grooms to ensure that these steeds are well cared for, fed and watered during the journey from Liege to Haneda with a brief stopover in Dubai. Emirates will be transporting 20 tonnes of in-flight food and drink for the horses along with 100 tonnes of special equipment for the onward journey from Liege.

The International Equestrian Federation, the governing body for the horse events at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, gives us a rundown of the complex logistics needed to transport these live animals (by the numbers).

Fast flight facts:

  • 18 hours 15 minutes: Flight time Liege to Tokyo, with a touchdown in Dubai
  • Aircraft detail: Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F (flight numbers EK9388 LGG-DXB, EK9442 DXB-HND)
  • 19 flying stables on-board
  • Dimensions of the flying stables: 317 cm long, 244 cm wide, 233 cm high
  • 14-17° Celsius: On-board temperature
  • 36 dressage horses: Teams from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Portugal and host nation Japan, and individual horses from Brazil, Estonia, Finland, Ireland and Morocco.
  • 22,700kgs +/- total weight of horses flying from Liege
  • 630 kilos: Average weight of a Dressage horse
  • 13,500 kilos of horse equipment
  • 12,000 kilos of feed (not including in-flight meals & snacks)
  • 40 litres of water per horse

Total transport trivia across both Olympic and Paralympic Games

  • 247:  Total number of horses travelling to Tokyo for the Olympic Games
  • 78: Total number of horses travelling to Tokyo for the Paralympic Games
  • 630 kilos: Average weight of a dressage horse; 515 kilos: Average weight of an eventing horse; 610 kilos: Average weight of a jumping horse
  • 14:  Total number of horse flights for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  • 5:  Total number of horse flights for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
  • 100,000 kilos: Total weight of the horse equipment (including saddles, bridles, boots, bandages, rugs, lungeing equipment, headcollars, grooming kits, shoes & studs, wheelbarrows & pitch forks)
  • 60,000 kilos: Total feed weight (feed/haylage)
  • 185: Total number of truck journeys between Haneda airport and the equestrian park at Baji Koen

Horse boxes loading into the plane (Photo credit:  FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

Loading Olympic Dressage horses at Liege airport in Belgium (Photo credit:  FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

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