Qatar’s state-owned airline recently provided seats to 80 raptors after a Saudi prince bought tickets to board them on the plane.
A photo recently posted on Reddit while on flight has gone viral and captured the attention of people world over. The picture shows hooded birds of prey peacefully resting on the airliner’s seats. It was snapped by the plane’s pilot, who sent the picture to his friend.
As far as the Arab region is concerned, this was not the first time that raptors accompanied human passengers on the plane, since falconry is a very popular sport here. Several airlines serving passengers from this region allow a certain number of raptors either on their cabin or in the checked in baggage. Nevertheless, 80 is a huge number.
The national flag carrier has a specific page on its website that provides details regarding falcons onboard the aircraft. A German airline also offers a bird stand that lets passengers keep their falcons beside them throughout the flight.
As reported by a local newspaper, UAE’s government previously issued 28,000 falcon passports from 2002 to 2013. The falcon passport program was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Water for the purpose of combating illegal trade of the birds.
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