Nevertheless, for G.K’s well-versed team there is always something new to experience or encounter when it comes to animal transport as nothing is routine.
Really unusual this time around, is G.K. Air’s new involvement bringing animal production activity to the Arabian Peninsular in a manner which assures the well-being of
some truly unique fish passengers – sturgeon!
Sturgeon are used to living in cool habitats, rivers, lakes and streams in temperature climates like Russia, Canada, the northern United States. However these fish are being imported into the United Arab Emirates, more precisely Abu Dhabi, in order to produce fresh caviar. Imagine, caviar from the desert!
The concept of producing caviar from farmed- rather than wild sturgeon is not so impracticable given the extremely difficult and complicated procedures natural caviar production entails. That this very successful undertaking should be set in motion by AquaOrbis, a small German company with only 11 employees in the province of Saxony-Anhalt, is a story unto itself. Having achieved European success, Aquaorbis is now placing breeding sturgeon in the Emirates.
In the Arabian desert city-states, caviar is among the most desirable delicacies imaginable. And in order to create and replenish this supply of gastronomic treasure,
the superlative breeding sturgeon from the town of Jessen, in the heart of eastern Germany, are indispensable. The fish themselves are big -- up to 1.5-meters long, ranging almost up to five feet.
In order to arrange for their safe transportation, Rene Bulgar from G.K. Air’s headquarters team in Frankfurt had to drive half the width of Germany, about 300 miles, to plan and execute the pick up operation for 22 of these creatures. Then he took them back the whole distance -- and then some, more than 400 miles -- to Hahn Airport. A former military airbase, Hahn is a regional airport in the remote Huensrueck area of the Rhineland Palatinate, southwest of Cologne.
Of absolutely vital importance to the operation was maintaining a constant water temperature of 13’C about 58’F. The sturgeon were packed in to large, sturdy plastic sacks filled with the same water in which they were raised at the breeding farm. The Sacks were then placed in specially-constructed, plastic-coated wooden transport cases. Oxygen was pumped into the containers enabling the fish to breathe. Nevertheless, maintaining a strict time schedule was of paramount importance as this sort of shipment should never exceed a 72-hour journey.
According to Mr Belgar, who was personally in charge of the entire operation from beginning to end, “This presented no problem.”
The loading of the transport cases onto special transport vehicles equipped with air suspension, and the subsequent placement of the cases on to four pallets within the cargo hold of the Etihad Airways cargo jet, and the flight to Arabia went off exactly as planned. Special cooling cells maintained the correct water temperature aloft assuring the piscine passengers perfect climatic conditions. Indeed a vast effort was expended for these 22 valuable sturgeon.
About six hours after takeoff, the aircraft landed at an airport in the desert. Privileged in-coming processing provides special advantages in the Arab Emirates. The special vehicle bringing the sturgeon to their new basin was also allowed to park directly on the field next to the aircraft. A more effective transfer is hardly imaginable.
In record time the 22 sturgeon reached their new home, becoming the very first full-gown inhabitants in the just-completed facility. This marked the inauguration of UAE caviar production in the desert.
“In the future it is envisioned that some 32 tons of luxurious fish eggs, caviar, will be produced at Abu Dhabi,” exclaimed Kay Wissenbach, managing director of G.K: Airfreight Service, GmbH, back in Frankfurt.
For G.K. Air, this new air transport and delivery of breeding fish sturgeon for caviar production in the distant desert was another challenge which was perfectly accomplished with distinction based on G.K.’s four decades’ experience.