deugro has delivered 13 plant components by three consecutive AN-124-100 charter flights from Italy and Belgium to Saudi Arabia within just seven days.


Image source: deugro

deugro Netherlands was approached by the client after a production line shutdown at a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia. In cooperation with its teams in Italy and Saudi Arabia, and the deugro Air Chartering division, the project was expedited to minimize costly downtime at the plant. 

The shipment comprised heat exchanger equipment that weighed 252.2 tonnes (811 cu m), including 54.5-tonne convection modules measuring 11 m x 3.1 m x 3.4 m. This was collected in Italy. At short notice, the plant operator also requested the delivery of a fan casing from another supplier in the Netherlands as an additional scope, which was added during a stopover at Belgium’s Ostend-Bruges airport.

The first two flights from Italy to Saudi Arabia each contained three packages, weighing 86.8 tonnes and 71.50 tonnes, respectively.

The third flight contained three packages with a total weight of 67.5 tonnes. These were loaded in Milan, and an additional four packages weighing 26.41 tonnes, loaded at Ostend-Bruges.

“Due to the critical schedule, an air charter solution was selected to provide the shortest transit time. This allowed for choosing the airports of origin and destination as close as possible to the supplier locations and the plant site, and the schedule of the flights could be planned in accordance with the manufacturing schedules,” said Joost Maranus, senior project coordinator, deugro (Netherlands).

Pavel Kuznetsov, head of air chartering, deugro, added: “Thanks to deugro’s long-standing strategic relationship with the carriers, and despite the severe shortage of these aircraft in the view of the military conflict in Ukraine, we were able to successfully lock in the aircraft for the required dates of transportation.”

As the cargo hold of an AN-124-100 is not fully pressurised, the deugro team checked with the suppliers’ engineers to ensure that the in-flight conditions in the cargo hold, including the temperature and pressure change rates, were suitable for the modules to be transported. The heavier modules were loaded of offloaded by the aircraft’s special loading ramps and external mobile cranes, which deugro arranged at the origin and destination airports on time.

Upon arrival at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, the individual flights were unloaded, taking an average of three to five hours per aircraft. Through close coordination and cooperation with the plant operator, the airport authorities, and the appointed ground-handling agent, the deugro Saudi Arabia team ensured a timely entry of the cranes and trailers into the airport upon arrival of all three charters. This avoided delays in unloading and ensured the subsequent 100 km on-carriage and delivery of the cargo to the construction site according to the agreed schedule.