Rickenbacker International Airport, Columbus, Ohio, renovated its animal transport facility.

The extensive project included a wide range of upgrades to maximize operational efficiency and ensure animal safety. The facility earned U.S. Department of Agriculture status as both a certified Export Inspection Facility and a Permanent Port of Embarkation for livestock.

“Our self-sufficient, world-class facility benefits all those involved in the animal transport process,” says Joseph Nardone, president and CEO. “Our customers can handle the resting and inspection processes in a safe, quiet area that is minutes away from waiting aircraft. Most importantly, the animals are under less stress because they spend less time in transport with fewer stops along the way.”

The renovation includes 12 new animal stalls, which provide space for livestock to rest before being inspected and exported, and on-site USDA office and restrooms. The secured facility provides convenient access from public roads and direct access to the airfield. Baker Livestock and Horse Transport, Greenville, Ohio, is the airport’s certified animal ground handling agent.

The airport, which shippers and air carriers use to export livestock, initiated the project at the beginning of the year to serve growing demand. Horses most commonly pass through the facility, but it is certified for equines, ruminants and swine. The 6-month, $423,000 project was constructed by Palmetto Construction Services, Columbus, Ohio.