World's first animal cargo handling terminal to open
Billed as the world’s first air terminal dedicated solely to travelling animals, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City is set to open a $48 million facility designed to cater to the more than 70,000 animals flying in and out of the airport each year.
Scheduled to launch in early 2016 and aptly named The ARK, the 178,000 sq ft terminal will serve as a cargo holding area for all animals, ranging from pets to zoo and farm animals, while they await transportation to their destinations.
The ARK, which will be privately owned and run, is being built on the site of an unused cargo terminal that has been demolished.
ARK Development signed a 32-year lease for the airport property with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agency that runs JFK.
The ARK will cater to animals travelling as cargo as well as those that have to be quarantined.
Cliff Bollmann, an architect working on The ARK for the San Francisco-based architecture firm Gensler, commented: "A lot of our design making is in collaboration with veterinarians and consultants to help minimise the amount of stress placed on the animal.”
Lachlan Oldaker, a US-based equine specialist and key member of the architectural team, called The ARK “an enormous leap forward” and said: “The design allows planes to taxi directly to the building, so horses can be transported in a seamless fashion that reduces stress.”
When completed, the facility is subject to approval by the US Department of Agriculture.
Transporting pets is big business and several airlines have set up a loyalty programmes, enabling pets to earn points which can be used to cut the cost of future travel, reports UK newspaper The Telegraph.