Stennis International Airport hub for Rolls-Royce Jet Engine Delivery aboard Russian cargo plane

April 12, 2021

Hancock County, MS (April 12, 2021) – Stennis International Airport recently served as the international transportation hub for a Russian cargo plane delivering one Rolls­-Royce jet engine from Europe. Rolls-­Royce North America tests the engines at its Outdoor Jet Engine Test Facility at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. The site conducts jet engine testing ­ including noise, crosswind and endurance checks ­ on the latest and most sophisticated Rolls­Royce civil aircraft engines, including the Trent 1000 that powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Trent XWB that powers the Airbus A350 XWB.

The Russian plane transporting the engine landed at Stennis April 11th. The An­124 is the world's highest gross weight production cargo airplane and second heaviest operating cargo aircraft, behind the Antonov AN­225, a larger aircraft based on the An­124's design. The An­124 is operated by Volga­Dnepr and Antonov Airlines.

"Hosting the An­124, one of the largest and heaviest planes in the world, is illustrative of the incredible airport infrastructure we have in Hancock County," said Port and Harbor CEO Bill Cotter. “We want to let aviation industries know that Stennis International Airport can handle literally anything that flies." The Stennis Airport staff coordinates with both Rolls­Royce and airline personnel to assure that the engine transfer from the plane to the over­the­road transport is efficient. The preparation takes several hours: specialized trucks arrive, cranes are erected and offloading ramps are constructed. While the work is going on, international aircrew members are taken to local hotels and occasionally shopping, creating even more economic impact in the county. Based on the weight of cargo, up to 24,000 gallons or 163,200 pounds of jet fuel is uploaded. Over the past few years, incoming Russian flights have originated in Shannon, Ireland, and Edmonton, Great Britain.

Airport Director Chanse Watson said that most operations are only on the ground for 24 to 48 hours. "In the past, infrastructure was built to industry, now industry is looking for the infrastructure and moving to it," he said. "Hancock County, Mississippi provides all modes of modern-day transportation attracting industry such as Rolls Royce North America."

“For over twelve years, we have been proud to call Rolls-Royce a member of our Hancock County community. Their commitment is shown through the creation of jobs and dedication to their employees that call Hancock County home,” said Bill Cotter, CEO of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission.



The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission was established in 1963 to lead the county’s economic development activities. Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park are home to 30 companies with more than 1,000 employees. For more information visit