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Article: Urgent Transport Averts $10 Million Loss

By World Courier

Customer success story

Customer Background

As anyone in the aviation industry knows, the weather is not always a friend. And when a gust of wind results in a $10 million engine failure, time-sensitive transport for a replacement is critical to getting a business back off the ground.
World Courier’s reputation for trusted transport when time is of the essence means we’re often called in to take fast action when other specialty transport companies fail. In the case of Bulgarian airline Air Via, World Courier once again proved that customers in key industries across the globe rely on us for the emergency transport services that move their businesses forward.


A flight coming in from Leipzig, Germany was involved with what was technically described as “an incident” at Varna airport in Bulgaria. The Airbus A320 aircraft operated by Air Via came off the runway at the airport and ended up 230 meters into the grass. Fortunately, only two of the 172 passengers on board suffered minor injuries, and all were successfully evacuated.

According to the pilot, the problem was a strong gust of wind at the point of landing, confirmed when Bulgarian Transport Minister Christian Krastev reported that, while the instructions from air traffic control and airport operations were adequate, the weather affected the landing. A cloud hanging over the runway turned the wind in the lowest part of the landing. The incident resulted in irreparable damage to one of the 5.5 metric ton aircraft engines — a critical component with a replacement cost of $10 million USD.


A new engine was ordered immediately, with insurers picking up the tab for the new engine and transport from the United States to Bulgaria. The only constraint was time: the engine had to be transported from the United States to Bulgaria and installed within specific time limits.

The airline originally tasked another transport company with the move. That company collected the engine from Dallas, Texas, but U.S. customs refused to allow the export due to missing documents and other issues. With time running out and a $10 million engine hanging in the balance, the airline contacted World Courier for urgent assistance.

World Courier had just 48 hours from the time of the call to arrange export of the engine and fulfill the insurance company’s needs.

Colleagues collaborated between the United States and Bulgaria to enable the engine to meet U.S. customs requirements with just hours to spare. Once the shipment was cleared, World Courier arranged the pick-up, and the engine successfully left the United States.

The initial plan was to send it directly from Dallas to Frankfurt, transfer it in Bond to Bulgaria and then finalize the customs clearance at the border. Frankfurt customs initially asked for a $2 million USD guarantee for the road customs transfer to Bulgaria, which proved unfeasible to arrange within the limited time frame. After some intense discussions, the engine cleared customs in Frankfurt. Once it was cleared into the European Single Market, free movement of goods between member states allowed it to be transferred into Bulgaria. World Courier prearranged a special truck to drive the engine from Frankfurt to Sofia. 


The engine was delivered on time and in perfect condition to Lufthansa Technik, which did all the necessary assembly and testing of the engine and then mounted it to
the aircraft.

Quick action and customs expertise successfully averted the loss of millions of dollars, returning a revenue-generating aircraft to normal operations. From start to finish, the project took less than a week — a perfect example of how World Courier’s global reach and expertise allows the company to take what others have called impossible and turn it into routine.