Antonov Airlines which recently used one of its seven AN-124-100 aircraft, each capable of carrying up to 150 tonnes, to ship three giant compressors from its UK base at London Stansted Airport to Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea.
The precision made parts were manufactured in the UK and collected from a Feltham, Middlesex site by the locally situated aerospace division of Jan de Rijk Logistics before being delivered safely to the Stansted runway where the Antonov crew were able to use the company’s unique, on board crane system to transfer the 23 tonne pieces from their respective trailers into the aircraft. Sebastiaan Scholte, CEO, Jan de Rijk Logistics observed:
"We are honoured to be part of this project. It shows once again the confidence our customers have in us to transport equipment of high value that requires delicate handling. Our aerospace unit was involved in this operation, using their years of experience of complex off-size cargo. We operate with special permits and have extensive experience in handling projects on the tarmac of London Stansted Airport."
Each plane in the Antonov heavy lift fleet is fitted with adaptors to its cranage system which upgrades the lifting capacity by an additional 10 tonnes, giving an overall final lift capability of 30 tonnes, the only air carriers which have this facility. The three compressors were stored in specially modified crates each 648 centimetres long, 284 wide and 358 high, specifically to suit the aircraft’s lifting ability as Martin Griffiths, Commercial Manager at Antonov Airlines, who organised the charter explained, saying:
"By modifying the shape of the crates for this operation, we did not need to use additional ramp equipment and did not need to carry extra equipment on the aircraft. This resulted in a faster loading process and reduced costs to the customer."
The actual flight was taken by Antonov’s Chief Pilot Dmitriy Antonov (who despite his name is not related to Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov, founder of the company) and flown without incident landing, after several stops en route to collect more cargo, at Incheon, South Korea where the cargo offloaded on April 7.
Photo: One of the trucks discharges its payload directly into the huge aircraft.