Antonov Airlines has transported four Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) in Arizona, USA to the Hindan Airforce Base in India.

On behalf of Boeing, Antonov Airlines deployed one of its AN-124 aircraft, which the airline said can accommodate up to five Apache helicopters.

Jon Roland, Boeing programme manager, said: “The Antonov Airlines team was responsive and willing to support deadlines while applying for the complex overflight permits required for military cargo. Antonov Airlines partnered with us to secure the required clearance and permissions, creating a cooperative environment to ensure smooth delivery.”

The Antonov and Boeing engineers also collaborated closely during the loading process. Amnon Ehrlich, commercial director at Antonov Airlines USA, explained: “We worked out how to best use the available space during loading to safely transport the cargo. We also took into consideration the high summer temperatures in Arizona while planning the move.

“The loading started in the early hours to avoid the high temperatures. Following a night-time departure, the mission was completed 24 hours later.”

According to Antonov, it has been contracted for further Apache helicopter shipments later this year by Boeing.