Desperate Hong Kong residents charter private jets for pets to flee the city

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

People are paying up to £19,000 to fly their pets out of the city as the number of commercial flights collapses

Desperate Hong Kong residents charter private jets for pets to flee the city
Desperate Hong Kong residents charter private jets for pets to flee the city
Caviar flew from Hong Kong to the UK on a Dog Express jet in December and the pet travel company has three private jet flights scheduled in the coming months

Hong Kongers desperate to flee abroad are paying thousands of pounds to hire private jets to export their pets amid a lack of commercial flights due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The city’s authorities are aggressively pursuing a zero-Covid strategy and have brought in some of the tightest pandemic restrictions on Earth.

Earlier this month, the government banned flights from eight countries, including the US and UK, citing concerns over the omicron variant, which has resulted in a spike of cancellations of commercial flights and increased cargo costs.

To get around the issue, groups of citizens eager to escape Beijing’s crackdown on the city are now coming together to cover the HK$200,000 (£18,869) cost of flying a pet and their owner out on a private jet.

Basic freedoms and rights have been severely curtailed since Beijing introduced a draconian national security law in 2020, prompting many to move abroad.Advertisement

Hong Kong’s population fell by 1.2 per cent in the first six months of 2021, according to the latest census, fuelled by tough coronavirus restrictions and the loss of democratic freedoms. https://cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk/499fb7d1-4179-40b2-a96b-1cb774160e70.html?i=0&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraph.co.uk%2Fworld-news%2F2022%2F01%2F20%2Fdesperate-hong-kong-residents-charter-private-jets-pets-flee%2F&channel=Worldnews&id=499fb7d1-4179-40b2-a96b-1cb774160e70&isapp=false&isregistered=true&issubscribed=true&truncated=false&lt=false

“There’s huge demand”, Chris Phillips, who works as a pet and medical charter manager for a private jet broker, told the Financial Times. “People want to get their pets back [to their home countries], their cats and their dogs and their rabbits, and they just can’t get them back via commercial routes.”

The locally based Pet Holidays claim they arranged 18 private jets in 2021 for people seeking to relocate with their furry friends, primarily to the UK. They said they arranged none in 2020, but expect the figure to rise to 20 in 2022.

Annett Schirmer, an academic based in Hong Kong, told the FT she has been using social media to try and arrange a flight for her three dogs and one cat as she looks to relocate to Europe in May.

“Flights are frequently cancelled [at] short notice which makes it really hard as the pets have to have their paperwork and vet checks done within a certain time frame relative to the flight,” she said.

Pet owners in the city are facing a fresh threat from authorities, after the government announced it would be culling 2,000 hamsters following a suspected case of animal-to-human transmission of the delta variant.

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