Volga-Dnepr Airlines has delivered more than 300 tonnes of gold-mining equipment from Ostrava in the Czech Republic to Nairobi, Kenya, on three separate Antonov AN-124-100 freighter flights.
The cargo comprised “semi-rings” used in the mining process, each weighing more than 50 tonnes. They had to be loaded precisely onto the aircraft as the clearance on either side was just 77mm.
Alexey Soshnikov, head of the Russian airline’s loading/unloading equipment design and support unit, said: “A special frame was designed and manufactured to distribute the load over the AN-124-100 cargo floor for these flights. The tooling had to be interfaced with the cargo with the highest level of precision and required extensive communication with the customer regarding certain modifications to the semi-ring design.”
The nature of the outsize and heavyweight air cargo business means there are no standard loading procedures, Soshnikov explains. “Every shipment is deemed to be unique and relies on the expertise of our planning and loading teams.”
The final destination for the equipment is a mine in neighboring Tanzania.