November 15 - Emirates SkyCargo is claiming a new record for the heaviest recorded single item ever carried by a Boeing 777F.

Weighing in at 21.157 tonnes (including packaging), the item - a specialised valve used to seal, control and monitor oil and gas wells - was just short of the aircraft's 21,624 tonne limit.

The blowout preventer - which was transported from Iraq's Erbil International Airport to Dubai - would normally be transported by sea, but the customer required a faster solution.

The shipment - 2.25 m by 1.9 m by 1.9 m - tested the capabilities of the aircraft and staff to the full.

"Carrying cargo of a weight so close to the B777's limit was very challenging," said Nihal Wickrema, Emirates' manager freighter operations & charters. "The highest level of care and precision planning was required by ground-handling operations at both airports. The weight had to be spread along the aircraft's structure and the shape of the item was such that it could potentially have rolled during the flight so we had to ensure there was sufficient restraint in every direction."

Emirates SkyCargo worked closely with dnata, the ground handling agent in Erbil, the customer - Starlight - and its delivery agent in Erbil.