Not snakes, lobsters! On a plane! (Actually, on lots of them)

By: Jon Chesto | Boston Globe

OCTOBER 26, 2015

Dubai-based Emirates doubled its capacity out of Boston earlier this month by adding a second daily flight between its home city and Logan Airport – and we’re not just talking about the airline’s capacity for carrying people.

It turns out that there’s another kind of passenger on these flights, one who won’t be making the return trip back to New England: lobsters, tons of them.

Duncan Watson, vice president for cargo commercial operations at Emirates, says lobsters represent at least half of the cargo shipped in the bellies of these planes. Many of these critters move through Dubai, home to one of the world’s busiest airports, for flights bound for other places.

Watson says he estimates that Emirates is shipping at least 10 tons a day of lobsters out of Logan, now that the airline has two daily flights.

“Obviously, people around the world are eating more of it because we’re shipping a lot of it,” Watson said.

Most of these lobster shipments are coordinated on this side of the Atlantic by OCEANAIR Inc., a logistics company in Revere. John Kingsley, a perishables manager there, says they’re often assembled in Styrofoam containers with cold gel packs. The cold lowers their metabolism, essentially allowing them to go to sleep for the long flights.

Kingsley says it’s not just Emirates that’s driving demand for Logan-shipped lobster – although the growth has been particularly fast at the Dubai airline. Most other international flights carry New England caught lobsters as well.

“If you’re on an international flight out of Logan, chances are there are lobsters downstairs,” he says.

Jon Chesto can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.