Chapman Freeborn blog

Cargo Air Charter

Time-critical cargo charters help avert plant shutdown

Chapman Freeborn Australia has recently performed a time-critical cargo charter operation to move a turbo-shaft gas turbine from Wilmington, USA to Karratha in Western Australia.

A turbine failure at an industrial facility off Australia’s North West Shelf was risking a plant shutdown and consequent major revenue loss for the company.

Working in partnership with an international freight forwarder, our Melbourne team arranged for the urgent air transportation of the replacement part which was tested and cleared for shipment on December 26 2013.

The 14-ton turbine was loaded through the rear side door of a chartered Boeing B747-400F freighter and flown a distance of more than 14,800 km via Los Angeles to Brisbane.

The outsized piece was then transferred to a chartered Hercules aircraft for the onward flight via Alice Springs to Karratha.

Although loading in Brisbane and offloading in Karratha was a challenge due to the size of the cargo, knowledge of aircraft capability and the ground situation enabled our specialists to quickly deploy the correct resources.

Also critical to the success of this cargo charter operation was the ability of our team to process urgent ad hoc flight permits during the Christmas holiday period. Both aircraft were chartered within hours of the initial phone call received on December 24 2013.

The turbine was successfully offloaded at Karratha Airport around lunch time on Sunday the December 29 with the assistance of a mobile crane, special loading ramp and onboard winches just hours short of a tropical cyclone that was due to hit the town later that evening.

Flight Route:

3,210 km Wilmington to Los Angeles
11,646 km Los Angeles to Brisbane
1,965 km Brisbane to Alice Springs
1,785 km Alice Springs to Karratha
Total: 18,606 km

Michael Grant, Chapman Freeborn Australia’s General Manager, said:

“To avert a costly plant shutdown, this time-critical cargo needed to be delivered to Karratha as rapidly as possible. We were able to successfully achieve this by working closely with both the client and our airline suppliers.

“Although the urgent request was received during the traditional holiday period, we were able to mobilise our team immediately and secure the aircraft and necessary flight permits without delay.”

Photo: There are only a limited number of Hercules aircraft available for commercial use today, but they can still be seen operating from the frozen Antarctic to the hottest deserts of Africa and the Middle East. It can land on packed earth, gravel or ice and is therefore ideal for cargo charter operations to remote locations.