The components flew to London onboard two of BA’s Boeing 787s.

British Airways Boeing 787
Photo: Boeing

Much like commercial aircraft, the remains of dinosaurs tend to catch the general public’s eye because of their sheer size. While full skeletons are rare discoveries, the unearthing of fossilized bones can help lead to the construction of replicas. This happened in Argentina, where, after almost 300 bones were discovered in 2010, a museum in Trelew was able to build a full-scale Titanosaur replica.

Large but light

As British Airways notes, the replica clocks in at more than 120 feet (36.6 meters) in length. While dinosaurs of this size, and indeed their bones, will have weighed a colossal amount, the use of latex and polyester resin with fiberglass by Trelew’s Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio has kept the replica’s weight low.

Indeed, it weighs just over 2,700 kg (5,950 lbs) in total, the sort of load that today’s commercial aircraft can carry without a second thought. However, the aforementioned sheer size of the complete replica Titanosaur skeleton means that, if it was ever to be transported, it would take some rather serious head-scratching.

British Airways Boeing 787-9 Cargo Loading
Photo: Sorbis/Shutterstock

The need for this arose last year, ahead of the opening of the temporary Titanosaur: Life As The Biggest Dinosaur exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, which is set to take place this week. The first step was to disassemble the replica skeleton, which itself took four months and requires a 20-person team.

A complicated journey

With these experts using brushes, cranes, drills, and everything in between to take the replica apart, its 225 bones were eventually ready to be transported. It took a further week to package them into 32 specialist crates, whose dimensions ranged from 60 cm (two feet) to 3.4 meters (11.155 feet). They traveled with another four crates that contained the real fossils that the replica was based on.

Trelew is located in Patagonia, not far from Argentina’s east coast along the South Atlantic Ocean. Its location sees it situated some 1,300 km (808 miles) from Buenos Aires, the country’s capital city. As such, the crates began their journey not in the air but on the road, as trucks transported them to Ezeiza Airport (EZE).

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British Airways Boeing 787

Image: Boeing

Once at the airport, IAG Cargo assumed responsibility for the previous components, and shipped them over to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). However, this had to be preceded by four days of customs and security checks, as every single replica bone needed a temporary export permit to leave Argentina for up to a year.

The end of the road

Such was the sheer number of crates that needed shipping as part of this complex logistical journey, that they were spread across the bellies of two of British Airways’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner widebodies. According to data from, the UK flag carrier and oneworld founding member flies the 787-9 from Buenos Aires to London three times a week, on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Upon landing in the UK, the crates were whisked away from London Heathrow Airport for storage and further inspection. They have since been transferred to the Natural History Museum in the British capital city, where the complete Titanosaur replica skeleton will go on display to the general public on Friday, March 31st.

What do you make of this logistical challenge? Have you ever come across any unusual cargo on your travels? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Source: British Airways,

  • British Airways, Cabin Crew Training, Customer Service
    British Airways invited Simple Flying to experience cabin crew training first hand. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

    British Airways

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport

    Year Founded:


    Airline Group:

    Sean Doyle

    United Kingdom


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