Cathay Cargo apologises after passenger’s cat escaped while being loaded onto plane at Singapore's Changi Airport

Aiko escaped through a hole in her carrier, which was damaged while being transferred to an aircraft at Changi Airport. PHOTOS: ADRIAN WONG/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE: Cathay Cargo has apologised following the recovery of a cat that escaped while being transferred to an aircraft, sparking a five-day search at Changi Airport.

Cathay Cargo is the cargo arm of Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific.

The cat, named Aiko, escaped from her carrier on Oct 28, according to a Facebook post by her owner, Mr Adrian Wong.

Mr Wong, who arrived in Hong Kong from Singapore without his cat, posted in Facebook group Lost and Found Pets in Singapore to seek help from the public.

The eight-year-old cat was found on Wednesday morning, he said in a follow-up post in the group.

“Aiko has been found this morning at the cargo area. Safe and sound, definitely dropped a few pounds and has oil and grease all over, but healthy!” he said in the post, which had more than 1,000 reactions.

“Thank you for everyone’s support and prayers – we could not have done this without your kind help. We are beyond grateful. Thank you so very much, this is a very strong community!”

The Straits Times has contacted Mr Wong for more information.

Responding to queries from ST, Mr Ashish Kapur, regional head of cargo for South-east Asia at Cathay Pacific, apologised for the incident.

He said the airline was alerted on Oct 28 about Aiko escaping through a hole in her carrier, which was damaged from the tautness of the strap used to secure it. Aiko was meant to be loaded onto a Hong Kong-bound aircraft at Changi Airport.

According to Mr Kapur, an urgent search for Aiko was launched in the area, with professional animal handlers engaged to help with the search.

After she was found on Wednesday, Aiko was sent for a thorough check-up by veterinary professionals.

“Plans are being made to reunite her with her owner in Hong Kong as soon as possible,” said Mr Kapur.

“Throughout this time, we worked with our partners and took the owner’s advice on the cat’s behaviour to help with the recovery. We apologise to the owner for the anxiety this has caused and will review this incident with our partners to ensure this does not happen again.”

In April 2022, a dog was found nine days after it escaped from its crate at Changi Airport. At the time, the dog was being loaded onto a Singapore Airlines aircraft.

In December 2021, two lions on their way to an overseas facility caused a stir at Changi Airport when they broke free of the container they were being transported in. After a brief stand-off, the lions were tranquillised. - The Straits Times/ANN

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