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Singapore Airlines Will Transport VIP (Very Important Panda) Le Le

Singapore Airlines and Mandai Wildlife Group Prepare VIP Flight from Singapore to Chengdu

Preparations are in full swing as Singapore Airlines (SIA) arranges a unique flight to transport Le Le, the VIP (Very Important Panda) customer.

Le Le, Singapore’s first Giant panda cub, will fly from Singapore to Chengdu in a special Singapore Airlines (SIA) Boeing 747-400F freighter aircraft on 16th January 2024.

Le Le Cleared To Fly

Following his final public appearance at the Pavilion Capital Giant Panda Forest at River Wonders, Le Le has been in quarantine since 14th December 2023. He has been doing well in his private den. In preparation for his flight, Le Le underwent a thorough health check. Vets assessed him to be in good health.

Singapore Airlines’ Very Important Panda Passenger Experience

Getting Le Le Comfy With His VIP In-Flight “Seat”

Mandai Wildlife Group’s animal care team used Positive Reinforcement Training to condition Le Le and get him used to his customized travel crate. This consistent training will help make Le Le’s transfer as stress-free as possible on the day of his flight departure.

How to Board a Panda on a Plane

Transporters will load Le Le’s travel crate onto a temperature-controlled air-conditioned truck for the journey to Changi Airport. At the airport, ground handling will load and securely strap Le Le’s crate and travel essentials onto an SIA pallet. SIA cargo handlers uplift the pallet onto the aircraft’s main deck through the nose door. It is locked in position to minimize movement during the flight.

Very Important Panda In-Flight Dining

SIA will also uplift Le Le’s special in-flight meal to ensure his comfort and safety during the journey. The ambient cabin temperature will be between 12°C and 16°C, with low humidity, providing a comfortable in-flight environment.

Room For Le Le’s Entourage

For Le Le’s care and well-being, he will be accompanied by a keeper and veterinarian from Mandai Wildlife Group and a keeper from China. They will easily access the main deck for regular checks on Le Le’s comfort and well-being throughout the flight.

Five Months of Transport Planning

Mr Gajandran Sokayan, Assistant Manager Dangerous Goods and Special Cargo, Singapore Airlines, said: “The Singapore Airlines team has spent the last five months poring through every little detail to prepare for this special flight. This includes little touches such as pre-cooling the aircraft prior to Le Le’s arrival, as well as the careful loading and strapping of his crate to the pallet and onto the main deck. This highlights our commitment to deliver the highest level of service to all customers, and especially when we have a VIP like Le Le on board.”

Very Important Panda Flight Ops

One captain and one first officer will fly to Chengdu. Two other pilots will operate the return flight to Singapore. Before the flight, the pilots will meet with the staff and vet to review all procedures ensuring Le Le a comfortable flight experience.

Captain Nithaar Zain, Chief Pilot Boeing 747-400F, Singapore Airlines, said: “It is my privilege to be the pilot who flies Le Le to Chengdu. His comfort and safety will be our priority throughout the flight. We will maintain a gentle rate of climb and descent to ensure his maximum comfort. We will also watch out for any weather changes en route and adjust our flight path if need be.”

Arrival in Chengdu

Two SIA loadmasters will travel to Chengdu in advance to help Le Le’s smooth arrival and handling. One of the experienced loadmasters also assisted when Le Le’s parents, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, arrived in Singapore from Chengdu in 2012. They will collaborate with the ground handlers in Chengdu to ensure the safe unloading of Le Le’s pallet from the freighter and the transfer of his crate to the next mode of transport.

Mr. Marvin Tan, Senior Vice President of Cargo at Singapore Airlines, said: “Singapore Airlines is happy to do our part by providing Le Le with a safe and comfortable journey to Chengdu in support of conservation programs in Singapore and around the world. We are sure Le Le is going to have many new fans in China, and we hope he settles down happily in his new home.”

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