Three times the size
Shortly afterwards, Atlas Air sub-chartered the unique Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, also known as the Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), to carry a load of face masks from Hong Kong to Greenville, USA.
Originally designed to carry wings for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the LCF “swing tail” has a cavernous 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 m³) main deck that is three times the volume of the normal 747-400 freighter from which it derives. When loading wings, the LCF usually uses the world's longest cargo loader, but palletised cargo such as Hactl handled can be loaded using hi-loaders.
A few days after the first flight, the Dreamlifter once again visited Hong Kong, and Hactl loaded it a second time, with a similar consignment.
Says Hactl Service Delivery General Manager, Paul Cheng: “We worked very closely with the cargo agents and carriers on both flights, ensuring we had accurate build-up instructions in advance. We also coordinated with Airport Authority Hong Kong regarding the parking arrangements, and obtained special approval for cargo build-up on the apron.
“We deployed our most experienced staff and all the necessary equipment, and used a dedicated onsite coordinator to liaise with all the relevant stakeholders. Both flights went off without any issues, thanks to the tremendous teamwork of our ramp crews.
“Both aircraft made an interesting change from the 747s and 777s that constitute most of our daily freighter handling work. And they demonstrate that we can successfully turn our hands to any aircraft type in existence, when we need to.”