Freight forwarder Panalpina last week chartered the only extant Antonov AN-225 freighter aircraft to move two laser welding machines with a combined weight of about 150 metric tons.
The heavy lift cargo was loaded in Hamburg and discharged in Shijiazhuang, China. The urgently needed machines could not be transported by a Boeing freighter, and ocean transport would have taken too long, Panalpina said. So the forwarder’s charter and emergency department secured the AN-225 for the breakbulk cargo.
The aircraft, operated by Ruslan International, is the largest commercially used transport plane in the world. It is powered by six engines. The plane is about 85 meters long and 18 meters high with a wingspread of 88.4 meters and a cargo hold of 1,220 cubic meters.
Loading the machines required a purpose-built ramp and a 160-ton crane and took many hours. The aircraft stopped in Minsk and Novosibirsk before reaching Shijiazhuang in the Northern Chinese province of Hebei on April 10.
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