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Issues Related to Accommodating Animals Traveling Through Airports (2015)

Chapter: Chapter Five - Conclusions and Suggestions for Further Study

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Page 53
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Conclusions and Suggestions for Further Study ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Issues Related to Accommodating Animals Traveling Through Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22120.
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Page 53
Page 54
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Conclusions and Suggestions for Further Study ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Issues Related to Accommodating Animals Traveling Through Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22120.
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Page 54

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54 Analysis of the data in this report yielded the following major conclusions: • Airports have very limited responsibilities vis-à-vis the transportation of animals through airports, either with passengers or as cargo. The major area of responsibility is the provision of accom- modations for service animals to satisfy federal law, regulations, and FAA Advisory Circular 150/5630-14. • The primary responsibilities for the control, health, and safety of animals traveling through airports lie with the animals’ owners and the airlines. If an animal handling or forwarding com- pany becomes involved in the process, then it takes responsibility before the airline or cargo carrier accepts the animal and after the carrier delivers the animal at the destination. When the normal processes break down, the airport steps in. • Airports seek to collaborate with airline and airport tenants to accommodate service dogs, emotional support animals, and pets traveling in aircraft cabins as well as animals traveling as cargo or checked baggage. Airports see this as customer service. • Post-security (airside) service animal relief areas/pet relief areas would facilitate, perhaps greatly, the needs of connecting passengers, as compared with their having to go out of the secure area and return through security. Only eight U.S. airports now have post-security relief areas. • The cost of service animal relief areas/pet relief areas varies widely depending on the design, location (whether indoors or outdoors), and construction requirement (whether repurposing a space or building a new space). The reported range was $1,500 for fitting out a storage room to more than $400,000 for new construction in a concourse. There are too few data points to allow computation of a meaningful average. • There are no accessible, accurate, and verifiable numbers of how many animals, including pets, are transported by air each year in the U.S. On July 3, 2014, U.S.DOT revised the reporting requirements with the changes to take effect on January 1, 2015. Notably, the changes will require covered airlines to file an end-of-year report even if they did not have any reportable inci- dents during the year, and to provide the annual total number of animals. However, the overall system for the transportation of pets by air appears to be efficient and safe. • Animals escaping in terminals or to the air operating areas are low probability/high impact events. • There is a trend in Airline Animal Incident Reports that indicates that airports, airlines, and animal handling and forwarding companies have effective training programs. • Many airports have discovered that providing good service for pets also provides real benefits to the airport in terms of perceived quality of customer service and the creation of a caring culture. • Airports can provide a useful service to customers by providing detailed information on their websites about traveling with pets, shipping pets, and shipping other animals. This is most effectively done by directing the individuals to the actual airline or cargo carrier website. This includes signage, websites, social media, and outreach. • Two airports in the study said that fraudulent service dogs and emotional support animals were an issue. All interviewed airlines said that this was a major issue, as did one federal agency (USDA-APHIS). Most of the service dog companies and associations and all but one of the assistance dog groups said that such characterization complicates life for people who depend on legitimate service dogs and emotional support animals. • Under the ADA, misbehavior by a service dog in an airport is an acceptable reason for the air- port to ask for the animal to be removed from the airport. This approach can also be applied to emotional support animals and pets. chapter five CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY

55 Based on the findings of this synthesis, further study is needed in four areas: 1. Documentation and analysis of the total number of animals traveling on domestic flights and on international flights; 2. The commercial potential for public-private partnerships to operate processing centers similar to the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre for both animal imports and exports; 3. Designs for outdoor service animal relief areas to provide protection from inclement weather and improve the safety and security of persons using them for their animals, and technologies for cleaning and maintaining indoor service animal relief areas; 4. Liability issues with therapy dogs used by airports to comfort passengers.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 64: Issues Related to Accommodating Animals Traveling Through Airports explores ways for airports to develop a coordinated approach in animal transportation to better accommodate the well-being of animals traveling through airports. The report identifies pertinent regulations; explores issues and ranges of accommodation requirements and strategies to respond to issues; and illustrates effective airport practices to help accommodate animals traveling through airports.

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