American Airlines Cargo sets a new record in transporting Nishikigoi

The cargo airline has been transporting ornamental koi carp in increasing volumes for the last two decades.

American Airlines Cargo sets a new record in transporting Nishikigoi
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American Airlines Cargo has achieved a new milestone by transporting a record number of ornamental koi carp, known as Nishikigoi, from Japan to destinations worldwide. Nishikigoi, the national fish of Japan, are highly sought after for their beauty and elegance. These long-living ornamental fish are valued at up to $2 million each, captivating collectors and art enthusiasts globally.

For the last 20 years, American Airlines Cargo has been transporting koi in increasing volumes due to their rising popularity globally. The company has noticed a surge in demand for shipping these valuable fish to various countries, particularly in Hong Kong, the US, China, Germany, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.

In 2023, the American Airlines Cargo team in Japan set a new record by transporting over 19,100 kilograms of koi to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and 9,600 kilograms to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). The airline currently offers two daily direct flights to LAX and DFW from HND or NRT to transport this precious cargo.

Nishikigoi are sensitive creatures and need to be transported with great care. “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,” says Emma Oliver, Director of Cargo Sales in Europe, Africa & Middle East (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC), praising the expertise of the dedicated team.

Originating from Japan, the koi fish is adorned with white, scarlet, and ink-black markings, symbolising elegance and prosperity. These fishes can grow to a length of more than 100 cm. Over half of all koi breeders are in Niigata Prefecture, 250 km north of Tokyo, and this region accounts for most of America’s koi exports.

Apart from being a leading cargo airline in transporting Japanese national fish to different corners of the world, the company is also dedicated to ending the unlawful trafficking of wildlife. In December 2022, the airline became the first US carrier of passengers and cargo to join the organisation by signing the Buckingham Palace Declaration, demonstrating the company’s ongoing commitment to preserving and safeguarding wildlife.

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