Chapman Freeborn blog

Cargo Air Charter

Emergency B747F cargo charter flies subsea equipment from Romania to Australia

Chapman Freeborn Australia recently performed an emergency air cargo charter to move time-critical subsea exploration equipment from Bucharest, Romania to Karratha in Australia. The equipment was needed urgently due to issues with a subsea project off Australia’s North West Shelf.

As the only equipment available to resolve the issue was located in Romania, the quickest possible way for the critical piece to reach Australia was by air charter.

Flown for a total distance of over 7,700 miles, the 1.4 ton piece was first put on a Boeing B747F aircraft for a 14 hour direct intercontinental flight from Bucharest to Perth before being transferred to a Metro II aircraft for a flight to its final destination of Karratha.

Michael Amson, the cargo charter specialist who oversaw the operation, said:

“The cargo was scarce, valuable, and time-critical. We understood our client’s problem and sought to provide a solution that was reliable, achievable, and robust. We expected to face challenges with crewing, aircraft availability, and permits and applied our knowledge of aircraft and operator performance to deliver a solution that was fast, realistic, and achievable.”

“Additionally, the requirement didn’t end in Perth so we had to ensure that the cargo was loadable onto a light aircraft for a hot-shot air service to Karratha. After the B747F was offloaded in Perth, the cargo went to a facility for engineering and technical services.  In the meantime, we ensured a load plan for onward airlift by a Metro II light aircraft which departed from Perth to Karratha some 15 hours after the arrival of the B747F.”

From the time the request was received, the air cargo charter specialist fully appraised global aircraft availability, determined respective airport capability, crewing, analysed the quickest flight path, and considered bureaucratic over flight permits – within five hours, a complete solution was delivered and accepted by the client.

Amson adds:

“It was a challenge to get hold of an aircraft at short notice for such a long operation. Typically it would require three to five working days to put together such an operation; however we succeeded to position an aircraft within 24 hours and traffic right clearances were tackled accordingly.”

To reduce time-consuming overflight clearances, an Oceanic flight path was selected where possible with the aircraft tracking across the Indian Ocean. From arrival in Karratha, the cargo was whisked onto a waiting ship and delivered offshore.

The urgent charter was completed in the most time and cost efficient manner, successfully saving the client a substantial amount that would have been lost through non-productive time by the hour.

The North West Shelf of Western Australia is an extensive oil and gas region, boasting a considerable number of oil and gas wells, pipelines, production areas and support facilities.