Stennis International is hub for Rolls­ Royce jet engine delivery aboard Russian cargo plane

August 1, 2014

Stennis International Airport recently served as the international transportation hub for a Russian cargo plane delivering one Rolls­Royce jet engine from Europe and exporting a second engine back to Europe. Rolls­Royce 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 company opened its second outdoor jet engine test stand, representing an investment of $50 million, last year.

he Russian plane transporting the engines landed at Stennis July 13 and departed the next day. 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 Executive Director Ashley Edwards. "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 Russlan flights have originated in Shannon, Ireland, and Edmonton, Great Britain.

Airport Director Bill Cotter 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." 

#Stennis International Airport, #Stennis Space Center, #Rolls-Royce