NEO Air Charter and customer Blue Water Shipping pulled out all the stops to deliver urgent heat pipes needed to repair Iceland’s critically important geothermal community heating infrastructure.

20,000 households on the Reykjanes Pensinsula endured -15 degree temperatures without heating, after repeated earthquakes caused eruptions of the Fagradalsfjall volcano, leading to lava flows that damaged the local underground heating pipe network which serves 10% of the country’s homes.

Blue Water Shipping of Billund, Denmark and NEO staff worked throughout a Sunday to locate and book a suitable aircraft - a Bluebird Airlines B737F - to operate the emergency flight from Cologne to Keflavik.

Staff also arranged ground transport for the 90-minute journey from the pipe manufacturer to the departure airport, and the trucks were on-site and ready to load early the next day.

Despite cargo handler- and Customs staff shortages caused by the local Rose Monday public holiday, and an error in the declared size of the packages, NEO succeeded in having the pallets broken down, the 1000 boxes of pipes individually X-ray scanned and re-packed onto 41 pallets, and then the shipment loaded onto the waiting freighter.

NEO staff were on hand in Cologne to oversee the whole ground handling and loading process. In the end, the flight took off just two hours later than originally scheduled, and less than 24 hours after the initial (Sunday) booking. The goods arrived in Keflavik the same evening.

“This was one of those jobs where we hit one obstacle after another, but – through perseverance and close collaboration with all parties - it all worked out fine in the end,” says NEO’s General Manager Brian Davis. “We’d like to particularly thank both dnata for putting an extra team on the job at extremely short notice, and Customs in Cologne for giving the complex procedures for this critically urgent, high-value shipment their top priority.”

Nicolai Nørgaard, Head Of Air Charter for Blue Water Shipping, added: “We were very pleased to be asked to assist the effort to restore heating to Icelandic homes in such cold weather, and the partnership between Blue Water and NEO certainly delivered.”

Neo Air Charter is a member of the NEO Air Group GmbH, which also provides onboard courier and ad hoc air cargo solutions, for a strictly trade-only clientele.