Volga-Dnepr Airlines has begun a major air logistics contract to operate AN-124-100 freighter flights carrying equipment to a new natural gas field in Papua New Guinea.
The airline completed its first flight from Port Moresby to Komo in Papua New Guinea on May 3 in support of the new gas conditioning plant being built by CB&I on behalf of Exxon Mobil.
Launching flights is the successful realization of several years of planning by specialists from Papua New Guinea, the U.S., Australia and Japan who are working as part of an international team building the new plant. Volga-Dnepr Airlines’ participation in the project dates back to 2008 and the airline’s air logistics knowledge and expertise has been vital in the development work taking place in Papua New Guinea.
One of the key events supported by Volga-Dnepr’s specialists over the past five years has been the building of a new airport in Komo to handle AN-124-100 flights. Volga-Dnepr has provided advice to help determine the optimal location and technical characteristics of the new airport’s runway, which is now the biggest in the country at 3,200 meters long and 45 meters wide.
Volga-Dnepr won the contract to deliver supplies of gas equipment to the Komo site in 2012.
Work has also been conducted by the airline’s engineers to minimize the empty weight of the AN-124-100 aircraft, tooling and packaging equipment to maximize the opportunities offered by the Ruslan aircraft’s cargo hold. For these flights special loading equipment and trailers were developed and manufactured by Volga-Dnepr for loading and offloading of cargo, eliminating the need for the use of cranes. This will reduce the time needed to load and offload the cargo, an extremely important aspect of the project. Issues related to the maintenance of aircraft at Port Moresby airport have also been resolved.
Deliveries in Papua New Guinea will operate only in daylight hours because of harsh climatic conditions, which include highland areas and frequent fog.