Two Chinese Pandas, Pyry and Lumi, yesterday arrived at snow-covered Helsinki-Vantaa Airport on flight VDA3134. Swissport Finland, a subsidiary of Swissport International, the world’s leading provider of ground and air cargo services to the aviation industry, handled the flight on the ground. The joy and enthusiasm for the Pandas among caretakers, veterinarians, representatives of the Ähtäri wildlife park and the government, and Swissport ground agents was great.
Panda caretakers and veterinarians have travelled to China to spend the last week with the Pandas in their home country before their trip to Finland. This shared time with the Pandas was important to familiarize the animals to their transportation boxes and to win their trust for the long trip ahead.
Once at Helsinki Airport, Swissport, which globally handles more than 45’000 live cargo shipments per year, had the honour to handle the aircraft. The ground service provider coordinated the movements of the boxes to the truck, and monitored all processes near the aircraft. Dozens of Swissport employees were on site and ensured a smooth handling process for these precious new residents of the Ähtäri wildlife park.
“The Swissport Finland team is proud to be a part of this happening. We were delighted to meet Pyry and Lumi and I am sure that thousands of visitors to Ähtäri wildlife park will enjoy the two Pandas as well. It was an honor to contribute to their smooth arrival despite the harsh weather conditions. This was only possible due to the great performance of our dedicated staff”, said Tomi Viitanen, CEO Swissport Finland.
Finnish Television company MTV held a public vote for additional Finnish names for the two bears. Over 4’000 name suggestions were submitted by the audience, which then voted for the winners among the top five name suggestions, according to MTV. The male Panda’s original Chinese name is Hua Bao and the one of the female Jin Bao Bao. The Finnish and the Chinese names will be used in parallel.
The heavy snowfall in Finland over the past few days will certainly help the Pandas feel at home more quickly as snow belongs to their natural habitat.