The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic separated many people around the road from their family and loved ones. Pet owners who were traveling or otherwise far from home have been separated from their animals. Some are yet missing their furry friends.
A new project in India, where a nationwide lockdown is still in place, is helping solve that issue, and reuniting people with their pets.
Mumbai-based cybersecurity researcher Deepika Singh, 25, and Accretion Aviation Rahul Muchhal are using a private jet to shuttle pets back to their humans. According to the Times Now News, Singh got the idea after ferrying her aunt from Delhi to Mumbai to look after her.
“A few of my friends recently took a jet to Goa and it made me think if the same could be done for vulnerable groups such as the senior citizens, for whom commercial flights might be risky, and for pets, who usually travel through cargo shipments, to reach home safely,” she said.
Singh told others about the idea through WhatsApp. Initially planning on chartering flights for both pets and people, she learned that not everyone wants to fly alongside animals.
“I then got in touch with Rahul Muchhal of Accretion Aviation and we worked out an all-pet private jet that could transport canines and also birds and other pets that have gotten left behind in this lockdown.”
So far, four seats have been saved for two Shih Tzus, a Golden Retriever, and a Lady Pheasant bird. According to The Print, Shih Tzus Finishia and Michelle belong to Harvinder Kaur, 58, of Chembur. Kaur was forced to leave home, and leave her dogs with relatives, when COVID-19 first spread across Asia. When she heard about Singh’s project, she was immediately interested.
“I did not care about money. They are like my children. I miss them terribly,” Kaur told The Print.
Once a few more spaces are booked, Singh will give Muchhal the go ahead to fly the animals to their loved ones, but she needs enough people to book space to justify the cost of the flight and not everyone can afford the price
“The cost per seat stands at Rs 1.6 lakhs which is already steep and if we do not have more passenger it will become even costlier,” she said.
The flight will be piloted by a human, of course, while keeping human passengers off the flight will reduce the chance of transmitting COVID-19.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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