UK-based cargo charter specialist 26AVIATION has arranged the charter of a 747-400F operating from Zhengzhou, China on its inaugural flight to the UAE, where it received a water-cannon welcome at Al-Maktoum airport, in Dubai last week.
The aircraft, which operates for Aerotranscargo, was paying its first visit to the UAE, and was carrying 90 tonnes of urgent humanitarian cargo that had been stranded in China due to the ongoing air freight crisis that has plagued the region in recent weeks.
Following multiple cargo terminal closures, staff quarantine shortages and even rumours of full suspensions throughout the major Chinese cargo hubs, the charter specialist’s planning dilemma was not based purely on short notice aircraft availability but also on finding an airport and cargo terminal to handle the flight.
26AVIATION’s managing director, Sam Heather, commented on the challenges that were faced securing wide-body charter capacity out of China at such short notice: “We focus on providing creative, outside-of-the-box cargo solutions, which is why our customer approached us to solve the problem of getting 90 tonnes of aid out of China on a go-now basis. Given the issues being seen in the region currently, we had to dig very deep to find a suitable solution.
“It was absolutely critical that we used a carrier who had a strong presence in China, as well as an airport that avoided the rapidly escalating disruptions in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Tianjin. We worked in close co-operation with our GSA partner Air One Aviation, the carrier and handling agents in both Zhengzhou and Dubai to ensure that the cargo was delivered within the urgent timeframes required.
“In fact, our charter was the carrier’s inaugural flight with their brand-new approval to operate to the UAE, meaning that we were welcomed with a water cannon salute – a first for 26AVIATION.”