World’s Biggest Plane: It is planned to rebuild the world’s largest plane destroyed by Russian forces during their invasion of Ukraine, though its manufacturer says this is still a long way off.
A second Antonov An-225 cargo plane, also known as the Mriya — “dream” in Ukrainian — is under design, according to a statement posted on Facebook Monday by state-owned Antonov Co. Specific details will be revealed once Russia’s war in Ukraine ends.
There are significant obstacles to rebuilding the giant aircraft, which was destroyed in February while being repaired near Kyiv. Antonov estimates that a rebuild of the 88-meter-long 290-foot-long aircraft will cost “at least” €500 million ($500 million), although the price could rise as it’s “too early” to discuss specifics.
Ukraine’s economy is under significant stress as a result of Russia’s assault, and there are power supply curbs in place as a result of Russian air attacks on energy infrastructure. Ukroboronprom, Antonov’s parent company, initially estimated that restoring the aircraft would take more than five years and cost more than $3 billion.
Approximately 30% of the original plane’s components can be used in building the new version, according to Antonov. The company said it was responding to “inaccurate” reports in the German newspaper Bild and Ukrainian media that work had already begun.
According to Bild, Antonov General Director Eugene Gavrylov said that the company would sell merchandise like models of the plane and pictures to raise cash and attract sponsors at Germany’s Leipzig/Halle Airport.
In December 1988, the six-engine jet made its first flight. As a symbol of Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion, it was used to transport Covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic. Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, has used it as a rallying cry, and it appears on national stamps.
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