August 16, 2017: Hungary bred fourteen racehorses were flown to China, on board Cargolux’s Boeing 747. The Friesian and Shagya Arabian horses, trained specifically for combined driving, took off from Budapest Airport in special freight containers, accompanied by a team of care takers and vets, on their way to their new Chinese owner, via Luxembourg.

More than a dozen Hungarian racehorses were waiting for boarding in a ground handler’s air cargo warehouse at Budapest Airport, in special freight containers, prepared with great care for the long journey to Beijing and then to Wuhan. They were placed in the cargo hold of Cargolux’s modern Boeing 747-8F (the F stands for a freighter, i.e. a freight aircraft); animals of this size can only be transported by air over such long distances, and only on board large aircraft types. From the Hungarian capital, they first made their way to Luxembourg, Cargolux’s home base, where they were prepared for the 12-hour flight to Beijing at the airline’s live animal station.

According to Hungarian equestrian website, since the 2008 Olympics and the economic upturn, horseback riding has become increasingly popular in China, with more than half a million Chinese riding on a regular basis per year. Demand for sport and breading horses and, accordingly, the market for importing horses are growing dynamically as well. Hungary is now able to appear on this market, after it received the permit required for the aerial transportation of horses, at the beginning of last year. Since then, this was the first live horse shipment from Budapest Airport to China.

Cargolux flies to Budapest three times a week. Chris Nielen, VP Sales for Cargolux, said, “The transport of animals is an important part of our core activities. We have an unparalleled expertise and a team of highly qualified professionals to ensure the welfare of the horses. We invested in new horse stalls that guarantee the well-being of the animals and a state of the art of transport.”

Dénes Szigeti, the air freight manager for Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Hungary, said, “These were unforgettable moments in our company’s life, and we are really proud of this success story. We were making history; no forwarder has ever transported horses from Budapest Airport to China directly by regular flight. Our whole special live animal team was working on this transportation project side by side which was a great success. Special thanks to the Hungarian live animal team for their dedication and hard work and also to all of the involved parties who helped us. Our dream has come true.”

Budapest Airport handled more than 72 000 tons of cargo until July this year, which is an increase of nearly 20 percent compared to last year.