Posted: FRIDAY, JULY 13TH, 2012
The Prince George Airport had a special visitor Friday, July 13th as an Antonov-124 touched down on the tarmac. The Ukrainian built aircraft picked up cargo from three BC businesses including VIH Helicopters based in Prince George. It departs YXS Saturday, July 14th and it will stop in Edmonton and The Azores before it reaches its destination of Luanda, Angola.
Prince George Airport Authority (PGAA) President and CEO John Gibson says “the arrival of the Antonov in Prince George shows the world and the aviation sector that YXS is open for cargo business. Moving forward we will share the success of the Antonov landing at YXS to aid in our cargo business cases with attracting Asian carriers to stop in Prince George en-route to other North American destinations”
“The Antonov-124 was in Prince George in 1995, however, it departed YXS empty. With the shorter runway, the aircraft was not able to depart with a reasonable cargo load. Now that the runway has been extended, this aircraft is able to take a full commercial payload” says PGAA Director of Cargo Development, Allan Ridgway. “Developing a commercial business opportunities into and out of Prince George is one of the keys to the cargo tech stop program.”
Senior Vice President of Global Business Development for VIH, Didier Moinier says “our crews have spent the last few days disassembling seven helicopters and preparing them for shipping. Along with our three helicopters, VIH will also be sending a mechanic for each helicopter to support the various locations throughout Angola. We do not have a specific date as to when our aircraft will be back, but an Antonov will be bringing them back as well.”The Antonov-124 can carry up to 120 tonnes of cargo weight.