Antonov Airlines has safely transported 80 tonnes of automotive parts from Indonesia and Vietnam to Ohio in the United States, which is expected to the support increasing demand as auto manufacturing plants reopen.
The Ukrainian airline was able to rapidly deploy one of its AN-124-100s for the said route, picking up 40 tonnes of parts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and a further 40 tonnes in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“The Open Skies Agreement between Ukraine and the USA, which promotes an increase in travel, trade, productivity, and economic growth between the two nations, meant Antonov Airlines was able to rapidly provide one of its AN-124-100s to carry the cargo,” the airline noted.
“We have seen an increase in demand for automotive cargo, and a double pick-up is not usual in the day-to-day operations of the AN-124-100,” explained Iryna Kyianytsia, commercial executive at Antonov Airlines.
“There were additional challenges ensuring compliance with Covid-19 restrictions in different nations, but thanks to well-organised work and communication with The Flight Lab Aviation Consulting LLC, which chartered the flights, the cargo was safely and successfully transported in full and on time,” she added.
It took four days to complete the long-haul charter flight, Antonov noted, with technical stops required in Japan and Alaska to accommodate crew rests and aircraft refuelling before reaching Ohio. Aircraft crew underwent rapid Covid-19 tests during each rest window prior to receiving clearance to travel to the next airport.
“These flights were not your run-of-the-mill charters,” said Adam Green, founder and chief executive of The Flight Lab Aviation Consulting LLC. “Due to the nature of the cargo and the double pick-up in two different countries, the planning had to be precise and executed perfectly. “All the cargo was just-in-time, to support a large automotive manufacturer; with the help of the consignee V. Alexander in the USA, each flight went off without a hitch,” Green added.
Market intelligence Fitch Ratings expects US light vehicle sales in 2021 to total 15.6 million, up nearly 10 percent from its 2020 forecast. Although the trend will be improving in 2021, sales are expected to be about 8 percent below 2019.