Antonov plans to convert the world’s largest cargo plane, the An-225 Mriya, for $500 million

By Alex Beltyukov – http://www.airliners.net/photo/Antonov-Design-Bureau/Antonov-An-225-Mriya/2178900/L/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org /w/index.php?curid=22569287
  • On November 7, the Antonov Company, the Ukrainian state-owned manufacturer of the world’s largest cargo plane, announced plans to rebuild the An-225 aircraft.
  • The Antonov An-225 was destroyed by Russian forces at Gostomel Airport near Kyiv in February, shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
  • The conversion of the aircraft, also known as “Mriya”, is said to have cost over half a billion dollars. The conversion is currently in the planning phase.

According to available expert estimates, there are currently about 30% of the components that can be used for the second model of the aircraft‘ the company said, adding that the exact details of the rebuild are yet to be released. “after Ukraine won that war.”

The An-225, which served for over 30 years before it was destroyed, was built in the Soviet era. The plane first took to the air in 1988. It was built to carry the Soviet Buran spacecraft before being used to charter international cargo flights.

Antonov published the following statement on his Facebook page:

On November 7, 2022, the opening of the international image project “Ukraine: with MRIYA in the Heart” took place at Leipzig/Halle Airport. Their goal is to show the world once again the consequences and destruction that a “Russian peace” will bring with it.

According to the Ambassador of Ukraine in Germany (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine), Oleksiy Makeiev, “The event we are attending today is one of the important components to educate the world community about the destruction Russian forces are wreaking in Ukraine. Strolling through the exhibition, hospitably placed here at Leipzig/Halle Airport, you will see how this senseless destructive force destroys the pinnacle of engineering and technical thought, the work of thousands of qualified specialists. The focus is on the An-225 Mriya aircraft. Personally, I’ve flown almost every “AN” aircraft, starting with the An-2. However, the “Mriya” remained a dream for me. We hope it will be restored and we will see this mighty bird in the sky again.”

It is symbolic that the first of the exhibitions of the mentioned project, which will be implemented at airports of different countries with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, opened at Leipzig/Halle Airport. It has been a reliable partner of the ANTONOV company for many years in the implementation of air freight transport, especially within the framework of the SALIS program – in the interest of the NATO countries.

Currently, Leipzig/Halle Airport has become the base for five An-124-100 aircraft of the ANTONOV air fleet, which have been able to continue their worldwide operations. As noted by the acting general director of the company Yevhen Gavrilov: “Today the whole world has to make a choice, choose the path of advancement, technology and progress or destruction for itself. We would like to thank our German partners again for choosing the Path of Light. Thanks in particular to them, we have been able to continue to carry out transports around the world, people receive such important, urgent cargo that only “Ruslan” can transport!

Götz Ahmelmann, the CEO of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG, commented, “When we found out about the exhibition project, we were immediately enthusiastic. Leipzig/Halle Airport and ANTONOV have been linked by a very close partnership based on partnership for many years. We work together very trustingly, have solved many tasks together and transported a lot of freight. ANTONOV Airlines and our airport have grown together. There is therefore hardly a better place for this exhibition and we are very pleased that we can present it here together with our Ukrainian partners.”

The concept of light and shadow was chosen by breakout MOMENTS, the partner company responsible for the design of the exhibition. Through the prism of the history of the An-225 “Mriya” aircraft, it shows the light of progress and the darkness of destruction, making visitors think again about what is currently happening in Ukraine.

The exhibition, which opened today (December 7), will be open until the end of December 2022.

The ANTONOV company would like to thank the Ukrainian photographers who made their photos available for the exhibition. Photographs, from which a real image of today is formed, cannot leave a person indifferent. Together we will defeat darkness and cruelty, rebuild the land and raise another Mriya to the skies.

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