Shipping Sandra: An Orangutan’s Journey Out Of Captivity.


On September 27, American Airlines Cargo welcomed a very special shipment from Latin America when Sandra – an orangutan with human rights – was thoughtfully moved from Buenos Aires, Argentina to the U.S. where she will eventually find a new home in Florida. Sandra arrived safely at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) after an 11-hour flight from Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) in one of the airline’s B787-8 aircraft.

The 33 year-old orangutan has spent her life in captivity, originally born in Germany before moving to an Argentinian zoo 25 years ago. After protests in recent years to provide Sandra with improved, more stimulating living conditions, she was eventually granted human rights for a non-human by Argentine judge, Elena Liberatori. The judge granted these rights in order to aid in her transportation and eventual relocation to a primate sanctuary.

American Airlines Cargo team members volunteered their time to assist with the precious cargo at 5 A.M on the morning of Sandra’s arrival. In accordance with federal labor laws and CDC (Center for Disease Control) procedures, they were on hand to ensure Sandra received the best-in-class customer experience. Upon arrival, she was safely loaded onto a van waiting to carry her to the Sedgwick County zoo in Kansas, where she will complete her quarantine.

“Sandra arrived at the quarantine in perfect condition,” said Federico Iglesias, director of the eco-park in Argentina where Sandra resided after the Buenos Aires zoo closed in 2016.

She will remain at the quarantine for medical exams before moving to her final home at the sanctuary for Great Apes in Florida. “There Sandra will have bigger compounds and special caregivers in the Center for Great Apes, which has a more suitable climate than her previous Argentinian home,”

said Iglesias.

Sandra traveled in a container designed specifically for her to which she had grown accustomed and would willingly enter ahead of the flight. The Cargo Operations and Sales teams in both DFW and EZE worked closely with Sandra’s handlers and airport personnel to confirm Sandra’s journey to the United States on American would be her best option out of Argentina.

“It was an honor to provide our services to aid in Sandra’s relocation and eventual new home in a more suitable environment. Our teams worked hard and quickly to ensure everything ran smoothly, and we look forward to following Sandra’s story,”

said David Vance, VP Operations for American Airlines Cargo.

American has 50 years of experience transporting live animals via air cargo and is proud to have been selected as the carrier of choice for transporting Sandra safely to her new life in the U.S.

About American Airlines Cargo

American Airlines Group is the holding company for American Airlines. American provides one of the largest cargo networks in the world with cargo terminals and interline connections across the globe. Every day, American transports cargo between major cities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at

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