It’s no secret that air travel can be stressful, especially for animals. The time we spend in line at check-in, going through security, and potential flight delays are enough to make even the most seasoned traveler a bit cranky.
In what’s being considered the first of its kind, a new luxury terminal is scheduled to open next summer at the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) – one devoted entirely to animals. The creation of the world’s only privately owned animal handling cargo terminal and USDA-approved, full service 24-hour airport quarantine facility for the import and export of horses, pets, birds, and livestock. Included will be a veterinary center and overnight pet resort.
Appropriately named “The Ark”, the $48 million, 178,000 square-foot state of the art complex will serve to handle animals and their cargo. There will be an arrival and departure lounge, an overnight domestic pet resort run by Paradise 4 Paws, and an East End Veterinary Emergency Center. There will be quarantine and transport services for animals big and small – from snakes to horses.
The design allows planes to taxi directly to the building, so horses can be transported in a seamless fashion that reduces stress.
The animals’ well-being will be a top priority for staff. The livestock handling system is being designed by animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin. Climate-controlled vehicles will be used to keep animals as comfortable as possible.
What’s Paradise 4 Paws? This unique company will bring a 20,000-square foot, 24-hour pet resort to The Ark complete with overnight accommodations for dogs and cats, daycare, training, and grooming. In addition, veterinary services including general medicine, ER, critical care, surgery, and advanced diagnostics will be provided 24/7, 365 days a year.
Although The Ark is long overdue for animal travel, I’m happy that finally animals will be treated with the proper care while traveling (at least in New York). I’m hopeful that other airports will follow suit.
The Ark JFK Airport New Luxury Animal Terminal is expected to start operations in 2016.