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Saudi Prince pays airfare for 80 ‘hawks’

An Etihad Airways pilot recently shared a bizarre photo of a commercial jet filled with 80 falcons, each with individual tickets paid for by a Saudi prince.

It appears one has done just that after a picture emerged online of dozens of ‘hawks’ perched among passengers on a jet.

The image was posted on reddit by user ‘lensoo’, who said it had been ‘sent to them by a captain friend’.

The user said 80 ‘hawks’ had been brought onto the plane with their wings tied so they could not fly around.

In the picture, the birds shared the flight with other human passengers.

The birds are believed to be on a Qatar Airways flight but it has not been confirmed.

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It caused a stir on the social media site, with many people challenging ‘lensoo’ over whether they were hawks or falcons.

The transportation of falcons on Middle Eastern airlines is fairly commonplace, with Qatar Airways allowing up to six of the birds to be transported in economy class, with prices ranging from Sh10,000 to Sh50,000 per bird depending on the destination.

It is understood they are often transported to take part in hunts, with the birds allocated a seat and placed on cloths to avoid any accidents.

Etihad also provides for transportation of the birds, and a statement on its website said: ‘We accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained. We also accept falcons as checked baggage.’

Falcons are one of the symbols of the United Arab Emirates and they are eligible to have their own passports for air travel, as part of a plan to combat smuggling.