Volga-Dnepr Airlines transport 430 tonnes of power plant equipment to Afghanistan

By Rachelle Harry

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has partnered with Blue Water Shipping to carry out a number of flights using its Antonov-124-100 ramp freighter aircraft to support the construction of a new power plant in Afghanistan.

The “technically complex and challenging project” involved 430 tonnes of equipment being transported for ‘Bayat Power Phase 1’, which will ultimately bring reliable and affordable electricity to more than 100,000 homes in Afghanistan.

The equipment was transported on five separate flights from Al Maktoum International Airport in the UAE and Tekirdag Corlu Airport in Turkey, to Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan.

Volga-Dnepr said its team developed the loading equipment and plans for the project.

Cargo on the flights included a 57-tonne transformer and its supporting equipment, as well as three units of the latest Siemens SGT-A45 mobile turbine, which is capable of producing more than 300 million KWh of power per year.

Varying from 23m to 30m in length and from 60 to 100 tonnes in weight, the units were physically inspected on-site prior to being loaded onto the aircraft. They were then installed on trailers and driven into the 36.5m x 6.4m x 4.4m cargo hold of the Antonov-124-100 using special cradles and a ramp extension.

In addition, rails, a ramp extension and external cranes were used to load the transformer.

Ekaterina Andreeva, commercial director at Volga-Dnepr Airlines, commented: “We would like to congratulate our partners. It was an exciting opportunity to be a part of this outstanding and milestone project.

“We started working on it with our partners in October 2018 with the development of various loading plans for this unique cargo. It was challenging in terms of loading requirements, but our team of experts with three decades’ expertise could solve them all successfully thanks to the ongoing dialogue and cooperation with our partners.

“We hope, our collaboration will continue in future, and the project will take a good start serving everyday needs of many people in Afghanistan.”

Nicolai Norgaard, manager of special accounts at Blue Water Shipping, added: “This has been the biggest air charter operation in the history of our company.

“We, Blue Water Shipping, Bayat Power and all other parties involved can’t explain how thankful we are to Volga-Dnepr Airlines. Having them as a partner for the airlift on this project turned out to be a perfect match. Their customer service, extreme flexibility and skilled technical crew turned out to be very valuable for us to overcome our different challenges for all five flights. The technical crews stood up together with us during all day and night in Al Maktoum to fulfill this project. We developed relationships which we will cherish thought-out our lives. It was truly an inspiring project and we are proud to be a part of it.”

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