The plane chartered by Panalpina – the Antonov AN 225 - is the sole aircraft of this type and the biggest commercially used transport plane in the world. Powered by six engines, the plane is about 85 meters long, 18 meters high, has a wingspread of 88.4 meters and a cargo hold consisting of 1,220 cubic metres. Those figures show clearly that using an AN 225 is never a daily routine job.
The freight comprised a laser welding machine manufactured by Ideal-Werk C.+E. Jungeblodt GmbH + Co. KG as well as a laser beam welding machine from Hugo Miebach GmbH. The cargo – all in all about 150 tons – could not be loaded into a Boeing freighter plane, and ocean freight was not an alternative either because the high-tech equipment was urgently needed at destination. However, the charter and emergency department from Panalpina managed to charter the Antonov AN 225 operated by Ruslan International.
After the aircraft was greeted by numerous spectators and representatives from the media in Hamburg, the loading procedure commenced with the help of a 160-ton-crane over a specially built ramp. The loading lasted well into the night, before the plane took off on Saturday for its journey to Shijiazhuang in the Northern Chinese province of Hebei. Both the flight with stop-overs in Minsk and Novosibirsk as well as the offloading went smoothly and without delay.
The charter and emergency department is part of Panalpina Air & Ocean, specializing in the ad-hoc chartering of airplanes of all kinds and sizes, depending on the individual demands, being it a particularly urgent shipment or a heavy and oversize load. Very often, the department comes into operation for aid-shipments in the aftermath of natural disasters, or organizes the supply of urgently needed parts and machinery for construction sites all over the world. The department is located in strategically important places in Europe, Asia and North America and is thus able to service the Panalpina Group around the clock in all time zones, because team-work is a key element for first class customer service. In order to handle the heavy-lift shipment to China successfully, the charter- and emergency-department cooperated with Panalpina branches in Germany (Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt), Luxembourg and China (Wuhan).