A passenger aboard a Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Adelaide crashed into the airline after witnessing that baggage handlers left a dog on the Sydney airport runway.
Elise Willemsen, who posted the photo on the airline’s Facebook page, said the incident “was not good enough” given the temperature of 30 degrees at the airport.
“I thought airlines should change their policy on animals that board flights after luggage and don’t sit on the runway,” he wrote on the Virgin Australia Facebook page.
I could only imagine how hot this poor dog is! Is not sufficient.”
The passenger, who also owns two bulldogs, said the dog’s cage sat on the runway while loading a luggage trolley on the plane.
“Virgin needs to take responsibility,” one person posted in response to the photo.
However, the airline says the dog was in the shadow of the luggage belt and would not have been on the runway for more than 30 minutes.
“We take seriously the welfare of all the animals that travel on board with us,” reads a statement from news.com.au.
“All standard procedures were followed by our team in loading this pet on flight VA436.
“According to standard procedures, the pet was kept in a shaded area next to the luggage belt to protect it from the elements. Our team carried out a final water and welfare control of the pet before loading it. It only takes a few minutes to load the pets on the plane and this pet was only taken off the asphalt when it was necessary for loading.
“We pride ourselves on safe pet transportation around our network and will continue to maintain the highest standards when preparing pets for their flight.”
According to the airline’s website, once a domestic pet is left at the airport and before loading, Virgin Australia will keep the animal “undercover in shaded and well-ventilated areas for as long as possible before being taken aboard the flight”.
“U.S [Virgin Australia] also focus on keeping the loading and unloading time on the plane to a minimum when handling your pet to make sure they are not exposed to the items for longer than necessary. “
It is not clear how long the dog was on the track before being loaded into the cargo hold by the ground crew.
Earlier this year, a woman blamed Qantas for the death of her dog on a flight to Brisbane, a few days before another dog died on a domestic flight with the same airline.
Kay Newman said his boxer Duke died after being left for more than an hour in extreme conditions on the runway at the Sydney airport on December 19.
Duke’s death occurred days before Sydney man bulldog Anthony Balletta was found dead in his cage at Melbourne airport after arriving on a Qantas flight.