Amsterdam-based KLM Royal Dutch Airlines recently transported two giant pandas, named Xing Ya and Wen Wu, from Chengdu, China to the airlines’ hub at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport to be relocated to Ouwehands Zoo in Holland.
This is the fourth time KLM has transported this “special cargo,” but the first time they have come to the Netherlands. The animals will be greeted at their new home with a brand new habitat, outfitted to maximize the comfort of the panda’s in captivity. The transportation of these endangered animals further strengthens the relationship between KLM and China, where the airline serves five destinations from it’s hub at Schiphol Airport. These Chinese destinations include Beijing-Capital, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai-Pudong, and Xiamen. There are 67 weekly flights from Amsterdam to these cities from Schiphol.
Upon touchdown in the Netherlands, flight KL892 was given a traditional water-cannon salute from the airport fire department, followed by the unveiling of new titles on the aircraft PH-BFT. These new titles name the aircraft the names of the two pandas. The pandas were offloaded and transferred to the KLM Animal Hotel where they were presented to many zoo and city officials.
Marcel de Nooijer, the EVP of KLM Cargo, commented on the event, saying: “KLM Cargo is honored to have been able to transport the giant pandas from Chengdu to their new home at Ouwehands Zoo. It is a special moment for the Netherlands to welcome the pandas after so many years. As a Dutch cargo carrier, KLM Cargo has an excellent reputation to maintain in the field of animal transport and this task serves as a great compliment to the knowledge and expertise possessed by our staff.”
During the celebration at the airport, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ronald van Roeden, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands Wu Ken, and KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers were in attendance. They spoke on the significance of the pandas coming to the Netherlands, and on the great relationship between China and the Netherlands on a global scale.