Aviation article(s)
March 20, 2024

American Airlines Cargo said it is moving record numbers of decorative koi carp, known as Nishikigoi, from Japan to destinations around the globe.


These ornamental fish are highly prized by collectors, and some specimens can grow to more than 100 cm in length and be valued at US$2 million each. 


American Airlines Cargo noted that it has been transporting koi in increasing volumes for 20 years and their popularity has grown as ornamental fishkeeping expands globally, particularly in Hong Kong, the US, China, Germany, the Netherlands and Indonesia, which accounts for some 60% of their export value.


It added that approximately 55% of koi breeders are in Niigata Prefecture, 250km north of Tokyo, with most of American’s export business of koi coming from this region.


In 2023, the American Airlines Cargo team in Japan transported koi in record volumes of more than 19,100kgs to LAX and 9,600kgs to DFW alone.


"These living works of art are beautiful creatures and require highly specialized knowledge and training in order to ship them. Our dedicated team under Keisuke Morita are true experts in their field," said Emma Oliver, director cargo sales Europe, Africa & Middle East (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).


"The transportation of the Nishikigoi must be on direct flights due to their sensitivity, with great precautions taken to tailor their travel accommodations to their oxygen needs. I am proud of our teams that are trained to handle these shipments with the utmost care and expertise," she added.


American currently operates two direct flights daily to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) from either Haneda Airport (HND) or Tokyo-Narita International Airport (NRT).


The Nishikigoi is the national fish of Japan.


The fish therefore require special handling and care when traveling by air as they are transported from native Japan to aqua culturists who import koi for collectors.

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