The Indian aviation regulator DGCA has made it clear that airlines are free to devise their own pet-carrying policies in the absence of a global convention.
The DGCA further stated that as the pilot-in-command of the flight has ultimate responsibility for the safety of the flight, airlines are free to create their own policies for the carrying of pets or live animals in the cabin.
The regulator further recommended that all airlines develop and conspicuously post their pet-carrying policy on their websites for the benefit of customers.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has not yet released any regulations regarding the transportation of pets in passenger compartments, while the US regulator Federal Aviation Administration has allowed its airlines to have their own individual regulations regarding the transportation of pets in cabins.
“It is brought to the attention of all concerned that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has not yet issued any Standards and Recommended PracticesCurrently selected (SARPs) or guidelines with regard to carriage of pets in the passenger compartment.”–DGCA said on Tuesday, January 17
According to the DGCA, there is no formal policy for the transportation of pets within a plane’s cabin and all aviation safety authorities have left it up to the airlines to create the necessary protocols.
In a similar manner, the DGCA said it had granted the airlines permission to transport animals, birds, and reptiles in an aircraft by air to, from, and within India under the observance of general conditions as laid out in Aeronautical Information Circular 9 of 1985 in the exercise of powers granted under rule 24C of the 1937 Aircraft Rules.
While Air India has been transporting pets over its entire network for decades, low-cost Akasa (which currently flies domestically) has only lately begun to do so. One pet is permitted in the last row of first or business class and one pet is permitted in the last row of economy along with the accompanying passengers on flights operated by Air India, which has been flying pets for decades.
“Small inoffensive domestic pets such as dogs, cats and birds, accompanied by valid health and rabies vaccination certificates, will be accepted on AI domestic flights in the cabin or in cargo hold… subject to the approval of flight commander… must be in soft ventilated bags/kennel (of) prescribed size. The weight of the pet, including the container, should not exceed 5 kg for carriage in the cabin. Pets of larger size/weight will be carried in the cargo hold. Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks of age to travel. Pregnant pets will not be accepted.”–Air India website
The newest airline in India, Akasa, will start charging passengers to bring domesticated dogs and cats on board starting on November 1, 2022. There can be a maximum of two pets on each flight, one in the passenger cabin and one in the cargo hold. The animal travelling in the cabin must be contained in a crate, and pet parents are urged to force them to wear a muzzle. In front of the accompanying passenger’s seat, the crate will be placed.