Antonov: Heavy lifting heavyweights

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Andriy Blagovisniy, commercial director, Antonov Airlines.

ACW: After winning “Best Invention of the Year” award back in December, how is Antonov continuing to improve and develop cargo equipment?

Andriy Blagovisniy: Antonov Company continues to improve loading equipment by working on modifications to existing loading equipment based on operating experience. Also, we are working on new loading equipment that should be universal for a wide range of cargos.

ACW: How is Antonov utilising digital advancements in the cargo industry?

Blagovisniy: Commercial Calculator allows us to visualise and optimise routes and enhance communication with the navigation service. It is more efficient and quicker to calculate routes and issue commercial offers to customers. We have software developed by our inhouse IT specialists for checking the loadability of cargo, taking in to account the need for lashing (mooring) and auxiliary equipment for loading into an aircraft. All this allows to increase the efficiency of cargo handling. Also, we are working on updating our website which will host additional functions that make it easier for customers to work with Antonov Airlines.

ACW: What is the key to success in coordinating time critical shipments, like the recent transporting of mining equipment to Brazil?

Blagovisniy: The key to success is a professional and accurate approach of all the parties involved, which provides swift and easy communication when the necessary documents for cargo and loading equipment (external cranes, trucks, etc) are prepared correctly and on time. When everyone knows their job function intricately and performs it to the best of their ability and on time, there will be success. We ensure the well-coordinated work of all divisions within Antonov Airlines. For urgent flights, we try to optimise the aircraft programme so as to deliver the cargo safely, in full, and on time. In this case, a lot depends on strong cooperation with the customer, well-established communications, and the correct actions of both parties help to complete the flight as quickly as the consignee needs.

ACW: What problems arise that are specific to heavylift and oversized cargo and how to you overcome these problems?

Blagovisniy: The problem surrounding cargo dimensions which don’t allow the cargo to fit in the cargo cabin, or not taking in to account the parameters of our loading equipment, is a specific issue. We solve this problem by discussing with the customer any design changes of the oversized cargo that can help reduce its dimensions. Dismantling some parts or the entirety of the cargo can often be an option. We will also redesign the load base supports if needed.

Super Heavy Cargo faces the problem of even distribution when loaded on the floor of the aircraft. We solve this problem by designing special transport frames which distributes the concentration of the load to the maximum permissible parameters.

We also need to ensure the required number of lashing points on the cargo to ensure a fixed position in the aircraft and ability to withstand the maximum permissible loads during flight. We decide by recommending and consulting with customers about where to place the lashing points and the required strength of the lashing points by taking in to account the design of the cargo.