Rickenbacker beefs up animal handling

   Columbus, Ohio-based cargo airport Rickenbacker International has completed a six-month, $423,000 renovation of its animal transport facility. 
   The upgraded facility includes 12 new animal stalls. 
   The airport’s livestock operation also recently earned U.S. Department of Agriculture status as both a certified export inspection facility and a permanent port of embarkation for livestock. Less than 50 of these USDA-certified facilities exist nationwide, with Rickenbacker being the only one in Ohio.
   “Our customers can handle the resting and inspection processes in a safe, quiet area that is minutes away from waiting aircraft,” said Joseph R. Nardone, president and CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates Rickenbacker, in a statement. “Most importantly, the animals are under less stress because they spend less time in transport with fewer stops along the way.”
   Baker Livestock and Horse Transport is the airport’s certified animal ground handling agent. Rickenbacker started handling livestock exports three years ago.
   Airlines with regularly scheduled service at Rickenbacker include AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Emirates SkyCargo and Etihad Cargo. Both FedEx and UPS are also on site to provide domestic cargo service.