Moving an oversized aircraft engine from Miami to the Azores

Aviation services group Air Partner coordinated the move using an Antonov AN-124 and Boeing 747 Freighter.

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Some supply chain stories are just plain bigger than others. This is one of those.

An oversized aircraft engine and critical tooling was recently moved by an Antonov AN-124 and a Boeing 747 Freighter from the U.S. to Europe and finally onto the Azores. According to Air Partner Group, which was responsible for the operation, the cargo included a replacement aircraft engine, empty stand, tooling, lifting beam, including a 48-ton mobile crane to load and offload the oversized aircraft engine into and out of the AN-124 cargo cabin.

This complicated logistical challenge took weeks to plan, four days to execute, and required close cooperation between Air Partner’s offices. These charter flights between airports in Miami, Luxembourg, the Azores, and London also included the deployment of Air Partner personnel to oversee all aspects of the load and offload procedure on-site, at each location.

A B747-F transported the engine from Miami to Luxembourg. The cargo was then loaded onto an AN-124 for transport to the Azores. A 48-ton mobile crane was sourced and also loaded on the AN-124, along with a driver and rigger, due to unconfirmed availability of suitable mobile lifting equipment on the island. This was a value-added solution to provide capability for loading and offloading of the aircraft, as well as assisting with lifting and installation of various engine components onto the AOG aircraft.

The Antonov AN-124 aircraft was selected to better facilitate the oversized load and, as a self-loading aircraft, circumvent the smaller loading capabilities at the remote destination.

Following the successful operation, the AN-124 was flown to London’s Stansted airport with the unserviceable engine, empty stand and mobile crane onboard. The mobile crane was repositioned back to the base in the EU, and the unserviceable engine and tooling trucked to Amsterdam for onward scheduled flights.

“This complex operation highlighted the value of our joint UK and US cargo offerings. Our team of cargo experts are available 24/7 for situations exactly like this. Air Partner’s clients can rely on our swift and bespoke approach to cargo charter in urgent situations,” said Robert Jubb, head of Freight UK, Air Partner.

Jack Burt, vice president of Freight US, Air Partner, said, ““Air Partner can access any size cargo aircraft to solve any size logistical issue. The Antonov AN-124 aircraft was ideal for this charter flight and the service provided by the Antonov airlines staff and crew was world class. We are proud to have worked with such great partners and delivered such a great product for our client with this project flight.”

“This was a very interesting and unusual project. Thanks to Air Partner`s and Antonov`s highly professional specialists we successfully delivered the sensitive cargo to the destination,” said Serhii Bilzerov, commercial executive at Antonov Airlines.


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