Wednesday, April 28, 2010

World Biggest Aircraft Used To Clear Air Freight Backlog From Ash Cloud

Heavy Specialist Gets New Role
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – The backlog in world air freight caused by the volcanic ash cloud has caused one specialist aircraft to be drafted into a new role to help deal with the waiting cargoes.

Antonov Airlines monstrous AN-225, normally associated with moving the biggest possible loads by air, has now been chartered to carry general freight from China and has delivered its first loads from Shijiazhuang Airport near Beijing to Vitoria, Spain on behalf of a major freight forwarder.

Antonov Airlines Commercial Director Valery Kulbaka explained that: “The An-225 is not usually used for general cargo, but its proximity at the time of the charter, and the magnitude of the overall backlog problem, enabled us to provide a viable solution for the client on this occasion.”

He added: “The An-225 is normally accepted by a number of airports in Spain. The aircraft’s routeing into Vitoria, its first time there, was a result of continuing pressure on slots at other Spanish airports, as scheduled carriers increase their operations in their efforts to return to normal.”

The An-225’s amazing flexibility has been proved time and time again. Originally designed for the Soviet space program to airlift rocket boosters and the Buran space shuttle the sole An-225 can carry a total tonnage 250,000kgs!

The aircraft holds the record for the heaviest single cargo item ever sent via air freight, a generator for a power plant in Armenia which topped the scales at 189,009kgs.