Heavylift / Breakbulk

  • The B747-8F is one of the largest full-freighters.

19.08.2014 By: Andreas Haug

Artikel Nummer: 6972

Two titanic performances

Two Boeing B747 freighters operated by the US provider Atlas Air caused quite a stir in Southeastern as well as Central Europe recently. While a B747-8F made its first landing in Stuttgart, a B747-400F transported cargo for the Greek shipping industry.

Greece, a nation well-known for its maritime industry , frequently has to import and export spare parts for use in the shipbuilding trade. In July this year a ­Boeing B747 freighter operated by Atlas Air, chartered by Etihad Airways and coming from Mumbai landed at Athens airport, carrying a large load of rather cumbersome spare parts for ships.


The heaviest component of the consignment, which boasted a total weight of 48.7 t, weighed more than 15 t. A special crane was required to unload the consignment. As on earlier occasions, two local cargo handling companies, Goldair Hand­ling and Swissport Hellas, comple­ted this task working hand in hand.


«We’re very pleased about the cooperation between two leading competitors in this as well as in other projects,» commented George Efentakis of the cargo team at Athens airport. This cooperation is yet another proof of the team spirit which has become a hallmark of the ­cargo handling community in Athens, the manager added. «We all work very closely with the providers of these services, and we’re convinced that this is the right way forward for the future development of the hub’s cargo business.»


Statistics seem to confirm this. After several difficult years, airfreight traffic in the Greek capital is on the rise again. The figures from January to June this year (38,000 t) showed «a modest but encouraging increase of 4%» compared to the first half of 2013, Efentakis explained.


First B747-8F at Stuttgart airport

Stuttgart airport reported cargo throughput of 15,411 t in the first six months of 2014, less than half of the figures in Athens. Stuttgart also had a large task on its plate at the beginning of the second half of the year, however, with Chapman Freeborn, one of the world’s leading aircraft charter specialists, strongly involved. Its team of experts also used a Boeing B747F of Atlas Air, but this time is was a newer version, a B747-8F. It flew 77 t of cargo, made up of a number of large vehicles, from Stuttgart to Houston TX (USA).


This was the first time a B747-8F had visited the airport in Stuttgart, in southern Germany. For that reason the team of experts at Chapman Freeborn, working in cooperation with the local airport operator, first had to obtain special permission from the various authorities concerned, in order to ensure the smooth and professional operation of the flight and the cargo handling. Stuttgart airport also organised the necessary equipment to process the aircraft.      





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