Volga-Dnepr takes helicopters down under and back

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Volga-Dnepr Airlines has worked with Panalpina to help Babcock move helicopters between the UK and Australia.

The objective of the move was straightforward but required precise planning and consistent coordination between all the global teams involved in the delivery of two Augusta Westland AW139 helicopters from the UK to their new home in Melbourne, Australia and the transfer of two Sikorsky S-92 in the opposite direction from Darwin, Australia to Aberdeen in Scotland.

Working in partnership with Panalpina, Volga-Dnepr proposed using one of its Antonov AN-124-100s for the flights.

Glasgow Prestwick was chosen as the UK departure point for the AW139s as well as the arrival for the S-92.

In the first stage of the project, two 5.5-tonne 16.7-metre long AW139s were delivered by road from Aberdeen to Prestwick where they were loaded into the AN-124 using the aircraft’s ramp.

After unloading in Melbourne, the AN-124 departed to Darwin where the two seven-tonne S-92 helicopters were ready for loading ahead of their journey to join up with Babcock’s business unit in Aberdeen.

The second flight was performed at the lower altitude of 8,000 metres to maintain the cargo hold pressure level requested by the customer.

Rinat Akhmetov, commercial executive of Volga-Dnepr Airlines says: “In our fleet, we have not only Antonov 124 freighters which, for example, can carry up to six AW139’s on one flight, but also the modernised IL-76TD-90VD ramp aircraft for deliveries of smaller and lighter types of helicopters.

“On this latest occasion, we were delighted to be able to support Panalpina and Babcock in their mission and to achieve all their objectives.”