VIDEO: Emirates SkyCargo cuts historic piano’s travel time by 99.6%
Emirates SkyCargo has flown a priceless, historic piano home to the UK from Australia, in 0.3% of the time it took for the piano on its original journey.
The square piano made by Frederick Beck, one of the leading piano makers of the time in London, became the first keyboard instrument to arrive on Australian soil in January, 1788.
The ‘First Fleet Piano’ landed in Sydney on board the HMS Sirius, one of the 11 First Fleet ships that sailed from England to Australia, after an eight month voyage that took it from Portsmouth to Rio de Janeiro, then on to Cape Town, before reaching Sydney.
Some 231 years later, the First Fleet Piano, now in the collection of Edith Cowan University, Perth, once again embarked on an epic journey- travelling to its historic home in England.
This time however, the itinerary lasted a mere 21 hours from Perth to London via Dubai with Emirates SkyCargo in the bellyhold of an A380.
The First Fleet Piano was joined in its historic flight from Perth by five other musical instruments, three of which are rare pieces produced in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The historic First Fleet Piano will be restored in London and returned to Australia
The instruments were packed in specially crafted insulated flight cases with sensors to track temperature and movement.
These cases were then loaded carefully in the cargo hold of Emirates’ A380 aircraft from Perth to Dubai. Once in Dubai, the piano cases were then rapidly transferred to the connecting flight to London.
The instruments will be showcased in a bespoke salon performance at Australia House, London on March 26th.
The First Fleet Piano will then undergo extensive restoration work before returning to Edith Cowan University’s Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where it will continue to inspire musicians and students for generations to come.
“Emirates SkyCargo has always prided itself in its role as a connector of people’s lives and economies,” said Ravishankar Mirle, Emirates vice president, Cargo Commercial, Far East & Australasia. “With the transport of these historic pianos from Edith Cowan University’s collection of rare musical instruments, we have also played a role in a cultural project that connects two nations through music and heritage.”
“Our modern aircraft and facilities combined with our expertise in handling precious cargo ensured that the pianos travelled safely from their origin to destination,” he added.
"The restoration of the First Fleet piano has firmly placed Edith Cowan University at the centre of worldwide efforts to create research and education programs on how to conserve and restore prized historical instruments,” said Professor Steve Chapman, Vice-Chancellor, Edith Cowan University. “We are confident that our precious Founding Pianos collection will be in safe hands travelling with Emirates SkyCargo.”
Every year Emirates SkyCargo transports a large volume of precious cargo - including historic artefacts and artwork across its network of over 155 destinations.
The carrier recently moved a hand crafted digital church organ from the UK to the UAE for the mass celebrated during Pope Francis’ visit to the country.