Pet Flights
(LHR Flights)

Heathrow Airport HARC

We at Airsupply Shipping Agents ( are ideally situated at London's Heathrow Airport to be able to assist you in your pet's relocation to the UK (and also abroad!). We are able to offer competitive rates for import clearance for your pet, and delivery to your home in Great Britain. Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice and information regarding pricing, and we hope you choose us as your nominated clearing agent for your pet's arrival into the UK!

We provide the information below to explain what happens to pets when they are shipped to Heathrow by air.

Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC)

The City of London runs the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC) to carry out its main statutory responsibilities under the Animal Health Act, 1981, this legislation incorporates Rabies controls and the Welfare of Animals During Transport Order 1997.  The City of London also has responsibilities for other UK animal related legislation.  The City of London also administers a Rabies Contingency plan in which 21 London boroughs participate.

What happens when my pet arrives in the UK?

When the flight lands, the pets are collected from the flight as the passengers get off.   Pets are then delivered to the Animal Reception Centre at Heathrow where they are looked after by trained animal handlers and each animal is released from their flight kennel into their own run.   They are offered food (normally dry food) and water while they wait to be given the all clear by the vet.   If the pet is particularly dirty they will be cleaned.

Animal Health (APHA), the authority here in the UK, check the pet's microchip and compare it against the paperwork for the animal.   Once they give the thumbs up, the paperwork is cleared through customs and then is free to be collected.   The process from arrival to clearance can take up to 6-8 hours for pets arriving into the UK.  

HARC is a world leader in the care of animals

The Heathrow Animal Reception Centre - formerly known as the Animal Quarantine Station - is part of the Veterinary Sector of the City of London's Environmental Services Directorate and has over the past 26 years established itself as a world leader in the care of animals during transport.

Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year receiving and caring for literally millions of animals of all types - including everything from tarantulas, cobras, race horses, tigers, cattle, cats and dogs and even baby elephants - the HARC has the facilities to cope with almost any animal.   Want to know more about how HARC operates? View the video below.

Live animal Border Inspection Post (BIP)

The Animal Reception Centre is the live animal Border Inspection Post at Heathrow.

All animals entering the UK have to pass through a Border Inspection Post so they can be inspected and have a specific type of entry certificate issued.  This is issued by part of DEFRA, namely APHA, personnel of which are based within the HARC compound.

Pets Travel Scheme

Since November 1999 dogs and cats from Europe (the EU) have been allowed to enter the UK without doing the statutory six months quarantine, provided they can fulfil the requirements under the PETS Scheme.  In the meantime, other countries have been added to the list, with the USA and Canada joining in 2002.

The scheme, by air, allows airlines who wish to participate to become approved by DEFRA.  The approval process ensures DEFRA that the airline has the processes in place to meet the requirements of the scheme.  DEFRA also have to approve the routes that the airlines wish to fly in from.  Thus, potential users must check the list of approved routes and airlines, which can be found on the DEFRA website.

The scheme consists of preparing your animal. For cats and dogs, it is necessary to have the animal micro-chipped first.  Then, the animal must be vaccinated against rabies.  After a period of about four weeks, if required the animal can then have a blood test to make sure that the vaccination has worked.  The vet who takes the blood test will send the sample to one of the approved laboratories so they can carry out this test.

Pets arriving at Heathrow travelling under the PETS (Pet Travel Scheme) allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules.   All the necessary import checks are undertaken at the HARC.  Once we have established that everything is in order and cleared your animal with the UK border control, owners of pets compliant with the Pet Travel Scheme can then take them home.  If a problem is found then we endeavour to sort out any issue as quickly as possible.  However, it is sometimes necessary for animals to be moved to a quarantine premises if a problem cannot be resolved within a day or so.

PETS information can be found on DEFRA PETS website or by telephoning +44 (0)870 2411710 Mon - Fri 8.30am - 5.00pm

Get in touch

Contact us

cat silouette

Quick Enquiry Form

Reload Button

Get in Touch

All enquiries are welcome and promptly dealt with!