A pair of endangered red-crowned cranes EVA Air carried on a special flight are now safe and sound in their new home at the Taipei City Zoo. Chosen to be the official carrier, EVA flew the two rare birds named Big and Kika from the Kushiro City Zoo in Hokkaido, Japan to Taiwan on 14 Sept., 2011. By making every effort to ensure the comfort and well-being of its precious passengers, EVA has once again successfully transported an imperiled species.
Among the rarest cranes in the world, the tall, thin elegant birds are especially prized in Chinese and Japanese cultures for various symbolic representations of happiness, health, longevity, faithful love and immortality. In addition to rearranging its schedule, EVA substituted a Boeing 747-400 combi for the passenger aircraft it usually operates on its Hokkaido route, enabling conservation experts and veterinarians to pass between the cranes’ specially outfitted cargo space and the passenger cabin throughout the flight.
The cabin crew carefully maintained temperature and air pressure to ensure the cranes’ comfort. EVA ground crews loaded the sensitive animals last and unloaded them first. And the pilots turned off the engines and connected the aircraft to ground power to reduce fuselage vibration as soon as the plane arrived at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport. With all of this special care and more, EVA made sure that Big and Kika had a very comfortable flight.
EVA also made the trip special for travelers booked on the cranes’ flight. An actor dressed as Hello Kitty in an EVA flight attendant uniform greeted passengers as they boarded at the Hokkaido airport. Cradling two adorable baby cranes, the beloved character demonstrated the carrier’s diligence in the transport of the red-crowned birds and hinted at the coming launch of a new EVA Hello Kitty Jet. Passengers traveled in a cabin decorated with pictures of red-crowned cranes and Hello Kitty, and enjoyed meals with service items designed in the theme of the elegant birds. To commemorate the flight, EVA gave passengers mobile phone straps depicting Kitty dressed as a red-crowned crane.
EVA’s reputation as an airline of choice for transporting rare and precious cargo began to grow 10 years ago when it carried endangered orangutans and gibbons to England. Since that flight, the carrier has been selected to transport koalas from Australia, giant pandas from China and yellow-headed temple turtles from Hong Kong, in addition to collections of irreplaceable art and relics en route from the world’s greatest museums to special exhibitions in distant nations.
EVA provides both passenger and air cargo services to destinations worldwide, connecting gateways on four continents with one of the airline industry’s most far-reaching networks in China and throughout Asia.