Sunday, January 08, 2017

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is in the running to land horses for World Equestrian Games

Horses coming from around the world for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C., will either fly into Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport or Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“We’re actually about twelve months behind making the (transportation) decision,” said Jim Dutta of The Dutta Corporation. Dutta’s company specializes in transporting horses and has served clients in the Tryon area.

The World Equestrian Games are scheduled Sept. 10-23, 2018 at the Tryon Equestrian International Center.

Dutta said on-site visits to the airports are necessary and the decision will be made according to several factors including ease of transportation from the airports and the airports’ ability to hold the horses for a 3-day quarantine.

“We will make the decision what is best for the client and horses,” Dutta said.

Doug Smith, from Spartanburg, is a commissioner with the GSP Airport Commission. He said he is in favor of GSP making a pitch but it should be cost-effective. “The question is for us, what is our investment and what do we get out of it?

“It’s got to make sense for the airport,” Smith said. “What is the cost analysis and does it affect other opportunities?”

Only three airports in the U.S. – Miami, New York and Los Angeles – are certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to accept international livestock into the country. “(GSP) would need to be certified by the USDA to accept (horses) from other countries,” Dr. Stephanie Cox, South Carolina State Veterinarian, said.

GSP entered into a three-year marketing agreement with the Tryon Equestrian Center last year. One benefit, according to the announcement, would be for the equestrian center to promote GSP’s bid to host the international flights transporting the horses. GSP may also be a base for the affluent horse owners arriving from outside the country be either commercial or charter flights.

“Cargo is the name of the game and we have facilities to make (cargo) happen,” Smith said. “Cargo is a game changer and we don’t want to waste any benefit that we can get.”

Senator International flies two roundtrips from Munich, Germany to GSP each week delivering automobile parts for suppliers to BMW Manufacturing, among other companies.

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