This week, United Kingdom-based Air Charter Service (ACS) – traditionally more a private jet-oriented company than a cargo carrier – released news of the completion of a cargo charter service in late May that redefines our definition of “time critical shipment.”
The company was contacted by a “specialist forwarder” to distribute fire retardant over the Puna Geothermal Venture plant on the Island of Hawaii, where the Kilauea Volcano has continued to expel lava, causing earthquakes, brush fires, and generally wreaking havoc across the island since its eruption on May 3.
The plant had 60,000 gallons of flammable liquid on site as the threat of lava reaching facilities advanced.
ACS employed a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 widebody jet for its capability of “carrying the entire shipment in the necessary timescale,” said Richard Thompson, president of ACS’ Americas division. “The plan was to use it to cap the geothermal wells and protect them from the lava flow.”
The charter distributed 68 tonnes of fire retardant ore, barite, a claylike substance that hardens when heated – successfully preventing the impending disaster. The facility was then temporarily shut down to remove the flammable liquid.
“Since then, three of the 11 wells at the site have been covered by the lava flow, meaning that it was critical to get the barite delivered as urgently as we managed and in place to protect the wells,” Thompson said.
Recently, ACS has expanded the cargo carrying faction of its international business. In 2017, the company increased its cargo flights by 11 percent year-over-year to a count of 4,300. Since 2018, it has expanded its Frankfurt offices to increase its time-critical services and its doubled its presence Beijing.