07. June 2024

Precision operation in Antwerp

Air Zermatt removes tangled cable from extra-high-voltage transmission line in Antwerp

Precision operation

In April, Air Zermatt AG was tasked with a challenging mission by Bern-based RELE GmbH – at the port of Antwerp, a 5-meter-long tangled piece of cable was to be removed from an extra-high-voltage transmission line. Last year, a thunderstorm destroyed an installation by a local line construction company and left this 16-millimeter-thick Dyneema cable entangled in the two 380-kilovolt lines.

Challenging location

The extra-high-voltage line in question was built between 1968 and 1974 and connects the port of Antwerp directly to the European electricity grid and the Belgian nuclear power plants. The location of the cable, just five meters in length, made its removal particularly complex. The transmission line spans the Scheldt river and is supported by two 172-meter-high supports, each comprising 400 tons of steel and anchored to 1,100 cubic meters of concrete foundations in the river bed. The line with the entangled cable is 1,170 meters in length, with a minimum height of 70 meters above the shipping traffic.

Complex planning and execution

As the largest freight port in Europe, shipping traffic at the port of Antwerp had to be controlled during the operation. With a cargo ship passes through the canal every few minutes, this called for intensive planning. Special permission was also needed to fly within the restricted area of the port’s 130 square kilometer site.

Efficient solution from Air Zermatt

The crew set off for Antwerp from Raron at dawn. Arriving at noon, two specialists hanging below the helicopter removed the piece of cable in just a few minutes, and shipping traffic was reopened. The helicopter and its crew were back in Valais that same evening.

Air Zermatt's experience and expertise

Air Zermatt AG has many years of experience in the maintenance of high-voltage lines. Further information can be found here.





All prices in CHF, including VAT, excluding shipping costs.