Hactl set to handle more aircraft engines at new facility

Hactl has established a new aero engine handling centre (AEHC) as it looksto enhance its capabilities in handling this heavy, delicate cargo.

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Hactl targets more aero engines

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl), is making a bid to increase Hong Kong’s involvement in the movement of aero engines through the establishment of a new Aero Engine Handling Centre (AEHC).

Hong Kong’s largest independent handler said the city state is one of only two locations in Asia that have certified repair, modification and overhaul facilities for Rolls-Royce Trent engines, the ones used in the Airbus A330, A340, A350 and A380, as well as the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner.

Aero engine handling is already big business for Hactl: it currently handles an average of two units per day. These engines weight over 8 tonnes, valued at over US$20 million, and the company believes it can help to attract more aero engine traffic to and through Hong Kong with enhanced facilities and streamlined procedures.

As such the cargo handler has installed an additional, dedicated outsize weigh-scale and have drawn up enhanced aero engine handling procedures, including the imposition of a 5kph towing speed limit.

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“All engine ground movements will now take place in convoy with pilot cars front and back. A new, fast-track route has been introduced to reduce towing distances, clearly marked with height restrictions to prevent collision with overhead obstacles,” Hactl explained.

In terms of manpower, the company said it will only entrust engine towing to the most experienced tractor drivers. It is also training additional staff in the ‘special disciplines’ surrounding the handling of this valuable, delicate cargo, and is forming a dedicated aero engine handling team.

Hactl claims a strong advantage in dealing with this special cargo given its ability to handle freighters of all kinds, including the Antonov AN-124.
The renowned freighter can carry up to five of the largest engines simultaneously, compared to the more common B747 and B777 freighters which can only carry three engines.

Denis Kiselev, aerospace and MRO manager for Volga-Dnepr Group, the largest operator of the AN-124, thinks its partnership with Hactl has the potential to boost its aero engine transportation business.

“Volga-Dnepr Group has extensive experience and competence in aero engine transportation. We are pleased to see that a long-standing partner such as Hactl is among those forward-thinking companies who understand the importance of developing aero engine handling, have acted on their own initiative to anticipate future customer needs, and are investing in upscaling and upgrading their facilities.”

Paul Cheng, Hactl general manager – service delivery, adds, “Aero engines are very large and heavy, but also delicate and among the most valuable commodities we process. We are upgrading all aspects of our handling to ensure we continue to provide the ultimate in efficient and safe handling, while paving the way for potential future growth.”

“By enhancing Hactl’s capabilities for handling this highly specialised and challenging cargo, we aim to enhance Hong Kong’s reputation as an important link in the global aero engine maintenance and repair network.

“This should attract additional aero engine business to Hong Kong and Hactl, and benefit our airport community, airline customers and service partners,” Cheng added.

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