08 June 2020, Monday 23:14:56

Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ to land in Shannon Airport

The world’s largest aircraft will make a rare visit to Shannon Airport tomorrow

The world’s largest aircraft will make a rare visit to Shannon Airport tomorrow to deliver a significant consignment of personal protective equipment for the ongoing fight against Covid-19 here.

The massive six-engine Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ jet, the only one in the world, is due to arrive at the mid-west airport at around 4.45pm on Tuesday, June 9.

While Shannon Airport has been operating on a significantly reduced basis in recent months, because of the worldwide health pandemic, the airport has been facilitating repatriation and transit aircraft but also cargo flights including those carrying essential PPE.

The jet previously visited Shannon in 2015 and 2013 but also on December 17, 2003 when the colossus made an overnight stop on the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright brothers in the US.

The mammoth airplane will arrive from China and is expected to remain in Shannon overnight before continuing onto Kiev on Wednesday.

The aircraft has been operating extensively in recent weeks carrying PPE from airports in China and Japan to the US and Canda. The plane, which recently returned to service after being out of action for 18 months for maintenance, broke the world record for the largest cargo carried twice in April.

The 32-wheeled jet is operated by Antonov Airlines, the transport arm of the Antonov Company, and holds over 300 world records for transporting oversized loads. An-225 requires a runway of between 3,000 and 3,500 metres in length to take off, making Shannon’s, at 3199m (10,486ft), the only one in Ireland capable of handling the plane.

The An-225 ‘Mriya’, meaning ‘Dream’, was designed and built by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukraine and first flew on December 21st 1988. The 6-storey high jet was designed mainly to transport the Russian space shuttle “Buran” to it’s launch site. The shuttle was carried externally on top of the fuselage.

Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ to land in Shannon Airport

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