January 16 - Heavy lift aircraft owner and operator Polet Airlines has enjoyed two firsts while undertaking a cargo shipment from the UK's East Midlands airport to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The flight was the first time the airline had operated into South America and the first time the four-engined long haul widebody IL-96-400T freighter had been involved on a commercial flight onto the continent.

The 58 tonne payload aircraft was chartered to move an urgent cargo of aircraft equipment from the UK.

Polet sales manager Khaydar Khasanzyanov commented: "It will be quite right to admit that from the beginning it seemed to be not an easy task having a very short period of time for flight preparation and procedures. The request from our customer came very urgently and the transportation required immediate performance."

In a further historical twist, the aircraft used, RA 96103, was the last IL-96-400T produced.