ABU DHABI, 23rd November, 2016 (WAM)–Etihad Cargo, the freight division of UAE national carrier Etihad Airways, has successfully completed the task of transporting over 70 elite racehorses from England to Kuwait on a single flight after the European racing season.

A total of 72 racehorses, worth a combined GBP36 million (US$45 million), were transported from London Stansted Airport to Kuwait City, where they will spend the winter months training and racing in the temperate Middle Eastern climate, said a statement from Etihad Cargo.

They were flown on one of the carrier’s state-of-the-art Boeing 777 freighters which are equipped with comfortable seating for up to nine grooms and can accommodate up to 75 horses at a time, it said.

David Kerr, senior vice president of Etihad Cargo, said, “Safety is the most important thing for our equine customers, which is why it is imperative we offer a safe and reliable service on all of our shipments.”

“The Middle East has strong ties to these magnificent creatures dating back thousands of years and, to this day, they are arguably the most precious cargo we carry,” he said.

“In 2016 alone we have been entrusted to transport more than 1,200 horses, with several more large shipments scheduled before the end of the year,” he added.

Conan Busby, MAG’s head of cargo, owners of London Stansted Airport, said, “We are delighted that Etihad Airways chose Stansted to handle this delicate and valuable cargo.”

“We are the UK’s number one airport for horse travel and we handle many specialist flights every year. Many of the horses taking part in this year’s Olympic Games and the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations passed through our dedicated equine facility,” he added.

Etihad Cargo operates a fleet of nine wide-body freighters, five Boeing 777Fs and four Airbus A330Fs, which can be configured to carry 75 and 30 horses respectively, it stated.