June 2 - Volga-Dnepr Airlines has transported trucks to North Baffin, Nunavut, Canada for Baffinland Iron Mines' Mary River operation.

According to Volga-Dnepr, while much of the equipment on the island arrived by sea during the summer, due to ice shutting down shipping lanes, no further deliveries would be possible until late July or early August. The Canadian mining company therefore contracted Volga-Dnepr to utilise its Ilyushin IL-76TD-90VD freighters and operate the Arctic runways to increase the size of its truck and trailer fleet.

As the trucks were too tall to fit inside the IL-76TD-90VD cargo cabin, Volga-Dnepr put smaller tyres on the tractor units for transportation, which reduced the height sufficiently to fit inside the aircraft.

Volga-Dnepr's team also worked with the Ilyushin Design Bureau to address the issue of the short 6,500 ft (1,981.2 m) runway at Mary River and found a solution to use the least amount of fuel in order to safeguard the limited fuel supplies available on the island. Using the aircraft's extension ramp equipment and onboard cranes also ensured the project was self-sufficient in terms of loading and unloading.

Volga-Dnepr commenced a four-week programme of 20 flights at the start of April, from North Bay in Ontario to Mary River.

Clair Gunn, account manager at Volga-Dnepr, who worked on the project, said: "Weather systems can come in very quickly in Mary Island so you have to be prepared. Having extra crew availability meant we were able to meet our delivery schedule even though we had two days of blizzards and white-out conditions during the flying programme. We are proud to have delivered a solution that will make a significant contribution to Baffinland achieving its iron ore production quota this year."