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China Airlines Airlifts “Tiny Passengers” from Southern to Northern Hemisphere for the First Time

2021 Apr 16

Taiwan-based China Airlines is a trusted, award-winning provider with professional cargo services. This month, it undertook the first transport of live bees from Sydney to Vancouver via Taoyuan International Airport. These “tiny passengers” will help pollinate orchards in British Columbia in Canada.

All of the pollinating bees transported by China Airlines this time were carried in the cargo compartment of an A350-900 passenger aircraft. The first batch of bees departed on April 7, Sydney time, and flew from Sydney to Taipei (Taoyuan) as flight CI052. The bees were then transferred at Taoyuan International Airport onto flight CI032 to continue the journey from Taipei (Taoyuan) to Vancouver on April 8, the following day. The arrival of the first batch of bees attracted widespread attention in Canada. Vancouver International Airport posted rare photos of its cargo operations on Twitter and Instagram under the title “Un-bee-lievable.”

China Airlines has extensive experience with the transportation of special cargo such as precision instruments, live animals, rare antiques, and large machinery. For the transportation of live bees, temperature controls were critical. A lot of time was also spent on quarantine permits for plants and animals being transferred through Taiwan. China Airlines followed the consignee’s instructions in keeping the bees in a cool yet ventilated transport environment. The outer crate of each batch was kept at between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius by using dry ice for temperature regulation. The captain also kept the cargo hold at between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. The low temperature reduced bee activity during transport and improved stability.

Once the aircraft landed in Taiwan, the bee pallet was processed into the temperature-controlled warehouse area. Cargo personnel had to constantly replenish the dry ice as well. They checked the pallet transfer times to avoid problems with climate and humidity during the move. Everything was done to ensure that the bees could be flown without trouble from autumn in the southern hemisphere to spring in the northern hemisphere. The second batch of bees arrived in Taiwan on flight CI056 on April 15. They were transferred the same day to flight CI032 bound for Vancouver. The third batch of bees are expected to arrive next week.

The China Airlines cargo network covers the world and flies to key cities in Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania. All station personnel around the world and their distributors undergo regular professional training on live animals and temperature-controlled cargo operations. They provide consignees with a safe, reliable and high-quality transportation service. Delivery quality won praise as well. As one of the leading air cargo providers in the world, China Airlines will make the most use of its 21 freighters and 62 passenger aircraft. China Airlines will take advantage of more air cargo opportunities, while Taiwan will leverage its geographic advantage at the hub to transport cargo around the world and lobby for more air business.