Expats urge Qatar Airlines to reduce charges for transporting pets

Published:  14 Sep at 6 PM
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Five pet rescue charities based in Qatar are asking Qatar Airlines to reduce their charges for pets flying with their relocating owners.

Lufhansa’s flight services to Doha from Frankfurt are due to be withdrawn in October, taking with them the only economical, direct flight option for relocating expat pet owners. Doha’s five dog rescue organisations are voicing their concerns that, rather than pay Qatar Airline’s high fees, expats will simply leave without their dogs. The emirate has five dog rescue charities – Dogs in Doha, Paws Rescue Qatar, 2nd Chance rescue Qatar and Rescue Saluki Middle East - all of which are joining together to hopefully put pressure on the national airline to reduce its fees.

At present, dogs weighing under 32 kgs including their travel crates are carried as accompanied baggage, leaving larger dogs forced to travel cargo. Popular breeds in the Middle East include German Shepherds, Salukis and Huskies, with some owners expected to pay QR20,000, a huge increase from Lufthansa’s charge of around QR2,500. Dog shelter managers are expecting a massive increase in dumped pets as well as fewer overseas adoptions due to the vastly increased cost of air transportation.

Pet owners and animal lovers from across Qatar have launched an online petition urging the national carrier to offer affordable relocation options for those who’d be heartbroken if they were forced to leave their dogs behind. Some 3,000 signatures have been added to date, with the petition praising Qatar’s support of the dog rescue shelters. The petition points out that expats are a majority in the emirate, with many bringing their dogs with them and expecting to relocate with them when they leave, and adds the airline is a favourite with foreigners working in Qatar.

Meanwhile, the dog shelters are attempting to move as many rescue dogs as possible out of the emirate before Lufthansa closes the route. Its Facebook page is asking those planning flights over the next few weeks to volunteer as ‘flight buddies’ in an attempt to transfer as many dogs as possible to their US base. At present, Qatar Airlines has made no comment on the situation, in spite of requests for a response.
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