Transporting an airplane engine worth around USD2.5 million is a dream for any freight forwarder that may become a nightmare in the blink of an eye. Instead of a beautiful professional experience, one could get an unforgettable stress crisis if a component this important is damaged.

This is why airlines don’t take any risks. When they need this kind of service, they go straight to a recognized experienced professional, renowned in its market for his/her attention to details, competence and expertise. Just like Mr. Darwin Nakayama, from Expedited America do Brazil.

Working on the logistics market for over a decade, in July 2019 Darwin got an urgent, extraordinary and unmissable: moving a Pratt & Whitney PW127M Engine. The device was Canada for maintenance and it should be returned in perfect conditions to Belo Horizonte International Airport (Confins – CNF), in the Southeast Region in Brazil, where an ATR 72-212 Aircraft was waiting for it.

The magic formula is in the detail

Freight forwarders in charge of moving engines and other airplanes’ extremely sensitive components must know by heart a detailed procedure manual that shows many examples of what can go wrong when that kind of product is being transported.

It is indispensable to be accompanied by an escort. Also, it is essential to choose the right vehicle to move the engine to the nearest airport. Only trucks with air suspension are allowed to do that movement – never the ones with steel suspension! Additionally, it is mandatory to follow impeccable Maintenance, Repair and Operational (MRO) procedures, to get specific licenses for each aircraft component, to register all occurrences and to document all procedures.

Any technical mistake during an engine’s handling or transportation can damage the motor – which means losing thousands of dollars. “So, it is fundamental to trust a commercial partner (freight forwarder, ground transportation company, airline, etc.) that has both expertise and experience on that type of cargo and of embarkment, to avoid any kind of problem. It’s absolutely unaffordable dealing with a claim like that,” says Mr. Nakayama, the talent responsible for the P&W engine’s logistic.


Although it was not considered an Airplane on the Ground (AOG) emergency situation, it was urgent to transport the engine. To fly it to CNF Airport safety in two days, the route chosen was to leave the Toronto Pearson International Airport (Canada – YYZ) and make a stopover on Lisbon Airport (Portugal – LIS), to get straight to Confins.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like a conventional route, but this is what an excellency freight forwarder does: thinking outside of the box and using his/her experience to find the best solution for any logistic challenge our clients bring us.

In this particular case, Expedited America do Brazil’s team’s market experience make possible to design, in very little time, a movement in which all procedures and instructions between exporters and importers were extremely well aligned, avoiding any problems or disruptions during the trip.

Today, there’s an ATR 72-212 more on air, generating profits for a happy Expedited America do Brasil’s client.

Some other fun facts about transporting an airplane engine:

  • The exporter must present to the airline a “drainage proof”: a document that attests that the engine doesn’t have any combustible on it. This is mandatory for embarkment.
  • The Pratt & Whitney Engine in this case had 2.36m x 0.96m x 1.16m – about half a hatchback car.

Contact us today and let’s talk about critical special cargo!