2020 Summer Olympics

[VIDEO] 325 Horses Flew Emirates “Business Class” to the Tokyo Summer Olympics – A Look at the Details

Written by Charlie

Check out all that went into transporting 325 horses to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics! Watch the video that goes through everything, including Emirates “business class” for horses.

Tokyo, Japan may be not far off the coast of the most populous continental land in the world but, for many Olympians that are riding their horses in the Olympics, it is actually quite a distance away! If you have seen any of the equestrian events, you may have marveled at the skill of horse and rider – but how about the actual incredible task of getting the horses to the Olympics?

How 325 Horse Flew Emirates “Business Class” to the Tokyo Olympics

Moving horses for international championships is no small task. For the Tokyo Olympics, Emirates was again used as the airline to transport these beautiful animals from places all over the world to Tokyo. Between the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, Emirates flew a total of 19 flights to get the horses to Tokyo.

This journey as a collective group began after the horses were transported to Liege, Belgium. Here, they were lodged in an actual airport hotel – for horses. From there, they flew on an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F to Dubai and then continuing to Tokyo.

As for the onboard “perks”, the accommodations for the horses was called “business” class – though not the business class that you may know from regular Emirates flights! For horses, this meant that there were just 2 horses per flying stable/pallet instead of 3 horses. They were also served meals throughout their flight as well as “on-demand” snacking of hay throughout the flight.

Here is a list of facts, as detailed inside the article over on FEI:

  • 18 hours 15 minutes – flight time Liege to Tokyo, with a touchdown in Dubai
  • Aircraft detail: Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F (flight numbers EK9388 LGG-DXB, EK9442 DXB-HND)
  • 19 flying stables on-board
  • Dimensions of the flying stables: 317cms long, 244cms wide, 233cms high
  • 14-17° Celsius – on-board temperature
  • 36 Dressage horses – teams from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Portugal and host nation Japan, and individual horses from Brazil, Estonia, Finland, Ireland and Morocco.
  • 22,700kgs +/- total weight of horses flying from Liege
  • 630kg is the average weight of a Dressage horse
  • 13,500kgs of horse equipment
  • 12,000 kgs of feed (not including in-flight meals & snacks)
  • 40 litres of water per horse
  • Check out FEI for even more stats and details!

Yes, that is certainly a lot of details and a lot of equipment/supplies! But, again, you are transporting 325 horses to the country of Japan so it takes a little bit to get the horses there!

Strange little tidbit on Olympic equestrian trivia – for the 1956 Olympics (held in Melbourne, Australia), the equestrian events actually took place in Stockholm, Sweden! Imagine being that far removed from all the Olympic action! But, this was due to the 6-month quarantine – pre-event – rules that Australia had in place.

Featured image courtesy of Emirates SkyCargo

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.