Singapore Welcomes Kai Kai & Jia Jia
06 September 2012 - Giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia arrived safely in Singapore this morning, flown in comfort on board a Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-400 freighter. The approximately 4.5 hour flight, which departed Chengdu at 0345hrs, landed at Singapore Changi Airport at 0820hrs today. The departure and arrival timings were scheduled as such to minimise any climate-related discomfort.
Throughout their journey, the cabin temperature was kept between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius, consistent with the temperature of the pandas’ natural habitat in Sichuan. The gentle giants travelled in custom-made crates that offered ventilation and space to move about. ‘Inflight meals’ of bamboo, fruit and water were provided. A team of five keepers and vets from both China and Singapore were also on board to ensure the pandas’ well-being.
“Singapore Airlines is pleased to have transported Kai Kai and Jia Jia comfortably to Singapore. We warmly welcome them to their new home at the River Safari, and are privileged to be playing our part in this significant conservation initiative,” said SIA CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong.
The arrival of the pandas was marked by a welcome ceremony at Changi Airport’s JetQuay Terminal, after which the pandas were transported to their new home, the River Safari, in a temperature-controlled vehicle.
Singapore Airlines is the Official Airline for the giant panda collaborative programme between Wildlife Reserves Singapore, parent company of the River Safari, and the China Wildlife Conservation Association.
Under the sponsorship agreement, Singapore Airlines and SilkAir are also providing air tickets for training and exchange programmes involving zookeepers, veterinarians and researchers from both Singapore and China.
5 FUN FACTS
- The registration number of the freighter aircraft is 9V-SFP (P for Pandas!).
- Kai Kai & Jia Jia flew 1,981 nautical miles (or 3,669 kilometers) from Chengdu to Singapore; that is the length of approximately 2,446,000 adult pandas lying snout to tail.
- 90kg of bamboo was carried on board for the pandas’ consumption.
- The temperature in the aircraft can be adjusted to a minimum of 4 degrees Celcius and a maximum of 29 degrees Celcius.
- The pandas are not the first live animals to have flown on a Singapore Airlines Cargo flight. Other animals previously carried by Singapore Airlines Cargo for conservation programmes include giraffes, lions, bears, a rare Indian rhino, and a pair of pandas from China to Adelaide in 2009.