News & Updates

American Airlines Cargo helps sharks reach their new home
in Brazil

Aug 24, 2017

Careful planning ensured sharks' health and safety

American Airlines Cargo recently moved two shipments of some very notable cargo: two sand tiger sharks and three bonnethead sharks for transport from the U.S. to South America.

The sand tiger sharks were flown from New York John F. Kennedy (JFK), while the bonnethead sharks flew from Miami International (MIA), all moving to Rio de Janeiro (GIG). All five sharks were headed to their new home at an aquarium in Nova Iguazu, Brazil via two different Boeing 777-200s. 

American worked with Four Star Cargo to ensure the sharks arrived safely and on time.

The sharks presented a unique challenge that the American Airlines Cargo team was happy to take on. Marine animals can be particularly difficult to transport great distances. In order to ensure their health and safety, the sharks were housed in two special shipping tanks that weighed 4,850 pounds (2,200 kilos) and about 5,500 (2,500 kilos), respectively.

While bonnethead sharks are usually only about 3 to 4 feet (.9 to 1.2 meters) long, sand tiger sharks can range in size from 6.5 to more than 10 feet in length (2 to 3 meters). The American Airlines Cargo team worked with the forwarder to ensure the animals had enough space and oxygenated water throughout the shipping process.

Just before takeoff, the shark tanks were carefully sealed and oxygenated to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. After the tanks were sealed by the customer, the American team placed and strapped them securely onto PMC units, which ensure stability of the tanks during flight and handling. Once prepared, the tanks remained in the cargo facility until right before departure.

“Our priority was to make sure that the sharks were safe and, of course, arrived on time in Brazil,” said Wayne Zimmerman, director of Cargo Operations – MIA. “Our teams coordinated closely with the customer and worked hard to ensure this unique shipment received all of the special care needed throughout its entire journey.”


About American Airlines Cargo

American Airlines Group is the holding company for American Airlines. American provides one of the largest cargo networks in the world with cargo terminals and interline connections across the globe. Every day, American transports cargo between major cities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at


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