SAS Cargo flew two giant pandas Mao Sun and Xing Er from Beijing to Copenhagen on 4 April.
The pandas moving to Copenhagen from the Chengdu Panda base is a gesture of goodwill from the president of China, Xi Jinping, following Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark’s State Visit to China in 2014.
Mao Sun and Xing Er traveled in two separate, customized boxes in the forward compartment of SK996 – which was named ‘Panda2’ for this special flight – from Beijing to Copenhagen. The aircraft was specially decorated for the occasion with images and names of the two pandas.
The flight arrived on time at the Vilhelm Lauritzen terminal in Copenhagen where media eagerly waited together with a reception committee of Ministers, Ambassadors and other VIP invitees.
Speeches were held while Mao Sung and Xing Er were moved from the aircraft to the specially decorated truck that took them the final stretch to Copenhagen Zoo.
“All went very well, and the two pandas are now happily resting and eating in their new home at Copenhagen Zoo, ready to receive keen visitors when the Zoo officially opens on April 11.
“It was a great pleasure and honor to be part of this very prestigious transport. We have a long experience in transporting live animals and sensitive shipments, but this was of course a very special event with such dignitaries onboard,” said SAS Cargo president and chief executive officer, Leif Rasmussen.
Copenhagen Zoo vice director and director of research and conservation, Bengt Holst said: “We know SAS Cargo stands for top rated quality worldwide and they have a vast experience in transporting sensitive shipments with great care. It was a fantastic journey to plan and execute together with SAS Cargo.
“We could fully rely on their expertise, network and carefully selected partners in making sure Mao Sun and Xing Er got best possible care during the entire transport from Chengdu to Copenhagen.
“We felt that SAS Cargo listened and understood exactly what we needed to secure a safe transport with all vital elements taken into consideration. We highly appreciate SAS Cargo’s support for this very important project.”