Nashville International Airport (BNA) in Tennessee, USA, has received the first Better Cities for Pets Certified Airport designation from Mars Petcare, in recognition of its pet-friendly facilities.
To achieve the award, BNA installed a variety of pet-friendly amenities before and after the security checkpoint. New features include a dedicated dog park in the plaza on the fifth floor of Terminal Garage 1. The park features a hydration station and waste stations and provides an outdoor green space for traveling pets. One indoor relief area and two curbside relief areas have been installed in the North and South terminals, each equipped with a hydration station and waste station. Visual wayfinding signage has also been improved throughout the airport to make it easier for travelers to locate pet-friendly amenities. Finally, pet-themed murals have been installed in the North and South terminals to encourage passengers to take pictures with their pets.
The certification – announced in time for the holiday travel rush – comes in response to rising demand for pet-friendly travel options. It follows Mars Petcare’s recently launched partnership with Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton, and aims to address pet owners’ growing desire to travel with their dogs and cats. A recent survey revealed that 85% of pet owners are likely to travel within the next year, with 65% saying they would like to bring their pets along too.
BNA’s certification is part of Mars Petcare’s Better Cities for Pets program, which aims to help cities become more pet friendly. The certification was developed in collaboration with the Civic Design Center, a public space designer, and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), an organization of aviation advisors. The organizations provided feedback and guidance on the certification assessment, including input on relevant amenity enhancements and solutions that would facilitate safe and comfortable travel environments for travelers with pets. To spread the word about the new airport certification, Mars Petcare has teamed up with Cassadee Pope, a Nashville singer-songwriter, who is promoting the pet-friendly updates at the airport with her French bulldog, Cuppy.
Doug Kreulen, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, said, “As travelers seek pet-friendly travel experiences, BNA is thrilled to partner with Mars Petcare, provide these enhancements and earn the first-ever airport certification through the Better Cities for Pets program. We’re excited to announce the installation of our many pet-friendly amenities, including green spaces and relief and hydration stations. We’re also proud to help pave the way toward more pet-friendly travel in the future.”
Gwen Basaria, vice president of member experience for the AAAE Foundation, said, “Travel with pets has increased in the last several years, and the new data on pet parent desires shows that the trend isn’t slowing down. Airports and our members look to us for guidance, tools and resources to help them meet traveler needs while maintaining a safe and pleasant travel environment for all. Therefore, it was important for us to work closely with Mars Petcare in providing insight as they introduced the new airport certification through their Better Cities for Pets program.”
Ikdeep Singh, regional president of Mars Petcare North America, said, “Our new airport certification is a natural extension of our Better Cities for Pets program into the travel space, an area where pet parents are looking for more welcoming and accommodating experiences for their pets. It’s clear that pet parents want to travel with their cats and dogs. Working with leaders like BNA helps us ensure we’re meeting their needs and delivering on our purpose: a better world for pets.”