: 02-08-22 11:39

British Airways Flies Racing Pigeon Home After 4,000 Mile Transatlantic Detour

British Airways and IAG Cargo used their expertise to bring the bird back.


British Airways last month carried a homing pigeon across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom after it got lost and ended up in Alabama. The British carrier worked with IAG Cargo to transport the bird on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

In June, Bob was found 4,000 miles (6,400 km) away in the United States after getting lost racing back to Gateshead, Tyneside, from Guernsey, Channel Islands. Bob's owner, Alan Todd, expressed that the pigeon took a wrong turn and landed on a ship that was crossing the Atlantic.

Read more:  IAG places order for 37 Airbus A320neo family aircraft

Three weeks later, Bob was found at the home of an Alabama resident. Sadly, Bob was covered in oil, but he was soon cleaned up and checked by a vet. Alabama Animal Shelter traced the pigeon back to North East England. Notably, Bob was wearing a microchip, which helped identify his roots.

So, the goal was then to somehow reunite Bob back with his owner. IAG Cargo, which has had plenty of experience carrying animals, from lions to turtles, took on the challenge. Being the first pigeon that the company ever transported, it worked with its colleagues at British Airways to get Bob to London Heathrow Airport.

IAG Cargo notes that there are plenty of health requirements to consider. For instance, Bob was required to quarantine for at least 30 days. Still, the fee has been waived by Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC).

Now, Bob and Alan are finally back together. IAG Cargo is proud to be part of this happy ending.

Valerie Hadley, Products Manager at IAG Cargo, shared the following in a statement:

We are glad to have been able to reunite Bob with his owner Alan. It was an amazing and unique experience to fly out to the US to support Bobs move back to the UK. Ive helped fly many animals during my time at IAG Cargo. However participating in a rescue mission for a lost and subsequently found racing pigeon is a first. Although this move wasnt one we had initially planned for, IAG Cargos global network meant we had the capacity and routes available to bring Bob safely back home.

Of course, it wasnt only the airline that was grateful for Bobs safety. Alan shared his emotions with the following:

I am delighted to be able to have Bob back with me in Gateshead and that wouldnt have been possible without the help of IAG Cargo. The cargo staff haven been supportive throughout and have guided me through the process on how they will bring Bob back home. In terms of what is next for the star pigeon, Bob was unavailable for comment but according to owner Alan He will be treated like royalty. I will give him a nice hot bath and make sure he has his favourite seed in.


: Simple Flying

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