Monday, December 3, 2018

Giant Musical Stadium Extravaganza Needed an Equivalent Airfreight Carrier

Taylor Swift Reputation Tour Calls on Airborne Leviathans
Shipping News Feature
AUSTRALIA – NEW ZEALAND – JAPAN – Anyone who has ever had anything to do with the music industry knows nowadays the bigger the star, the larger the entourage, and the more equipment that tends to precede them to the big dates. Taylor Swift recently saw her Reputation Stadium Tour beat her own previous record as the highest grossing tour by a female artist in the US at over $190 million, so when it came to shipping the staging equipment by air throughout Oceania it needed more than something the size of the ill-fated Beechcraft Bonanza which caused the demise of the late Buddy Holly.

Ukrainian heavy lift carrier Antonov Airlines used two gigantic Antonov AN-124-100 ‘Ruslan’ to ferry the singer’s light-show system and equipment earlier this month for the final leg of her record breaking global tour. The aircraft travelled first from Brisbane, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand, and then on to Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan.

Antonov were familiar with the challenge having successful turned around the same shipment earlier this year when Taylor Swift came to Wembley, UK, in June, as part of the same series of 53 concerts. Graham Witton, Managing Director of Antonov Airlines in UK said:

“Antonov AN-124-100 was the obvious choice because the equipment that was being transported needed the full floor space that the aircraft can provide. We met the challenge of an intense back-to-back concert schedule, and we sent out two crews to Australia to ensure that both aircraft could operate three rotations without any break for 24 hours.”

In total, the two Antonov AN-124-100 aircraft, which have a payload capacity of up to 120 tonnes, flew nine flights with six taking off from Brisbane airport and three leaving Auckland Airport for Tokyo. Music transport specialist Rock-it Cargo was appointed the official worldwide freight forwarder for the 2018 Taylor Swift tour and CEO David C Bernstein was obviously more than happy at the way things went, saying:

“After evaluating all of the aircraft and air carriers capable of fulfilling the operational requirements of our client’s schedule, which required the uplift of 635 tons (576 metric tonnes) within 36 hours from Brisbane to Auckland, it became clear that the Antonov Airlines operated AN-124 aircraft was the ideal aircraft for the mission. The roll-on, roll-off capability of the AN-124 combined with the impeccable planning and coordination provided by Graham Witton and the entire Antonov Airlines team, resulted in an early delivery of all the gear to the Auckland concert venue.”

Photo: Taylor Swift on tour and (inset) the equipment stacked inside one of the huge aircraft.