Air carriers: transport pets and assistance dogs

How to get approval to transport pet cats, dogs and ferrets, and when you must transport assistance dogs with their owners.

Contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) about transporting other kinds of pets.

To get approval to transport pets to Northern Ireland, contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Get approval to transport pets

You can only be approved to transport pets to the following airports with an approved pet checker:

  • Biggin Hill (charter airlines only)
  • Blackpool (charter airlines only)
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield
  • Edinburgh
  • Farnborough (charter airlines only)
  • Glasgow
  • Gloucestershire (charter airlines only)
  • Leeds Bradford
  • London Ashford (charter airlines only)
  • London Gatwick
  • London Heathrow
  • London Oxford (Kidlington) (charter airlines only)
  • London Stansted (charter airlines only)
  • Manchester

You can travel from any airport.

You must agree a required method of operation (RMOP) with APHA for each airport you travel to. The RMOP describes how you work with the airport to check pets meet travel rules.


You don’t need approval if you transport pets to England, Scotland or Wales from:

  • UK countries
  • the Channel Islands
  • the Isle of Man
  • the Republic of Ireland

You don’t need approval to transport pets with a rabies import licence. You must follow the conditions of the licence.

You must follow other rules if you transport assistance dogs with their owners.

Agree an RMOP

Follow these steps to agree an RMOP:

  1. Speak to APHA about facilities and processes you can use.
  2. Fill in a pet travel RMOP form for air carriers.
  3. APHA will contact you to agree the RMOP.

APHA may arrange to visit the airport to check you can meet the conditions of your RMOP.

If you’re approved

If you meet the RMOP conditions, APHA will send you an ‘Approval of PETS airline RMOP’.

APHA will add you to the list of approved pet travel air carriers and routes.

Your approval may be withdrawn if you don’t meet the conditions of your RMOP.

Tell APHA if you:

  • stop accepting pets
  • change your company name or contact details

Transport assistance dogs with their owners

Community air carriers

If you’re a community carrier (your operating licence was granted by an EU country), you must allow passengers to travel with their assistance dogs on routes from EU countries.

You can travel to any UK airport.

You don’t need to agree an RMOP with APHA to transport assistance dogs.

You could be taken to court if you don’t allow passengers with reduced mobility to travel with their assistance dogs.

If you must carry assistance dogs on any of your routes, you can agree an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with APHA.

The MOU describes how you check assistance dogs meet pet travel rules.

If you have an MOU, APHA will add your route to the list of airlines and airports registered to transport assistance dogs.

Tell APHA if you change your company name or contact details.

Other air carriers

You don’t have to transport assistance dogs with their owners.

If you transport assistance dogs to England, Scotland or Wales, you must get approval to transport pets.

Published 1 July 2016