How the An-225 became the super-heavy air cargo king

From 2002 until its destruction during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the unique An-225 aircraft was in regular commercial use, offering oversize and super-heavy transportation capability like no other. Alexander Mladenov and Krassimir Grozev report

At the beginning of the new century, the six-engine monster operated by Antonov Airlines took the global air cargo business to new and heavier heights. The 640-tonne aircraft underwent major refurbishment, was test-lown and received its Ukrainian type certiicate immediately before the 2001 Paris Airshow. It was eventually used on a commercial contract with the United States Department of Defense to deliver 216,000 prepared meals, on a single flight, to Thumrait, Oman for US military personnel based in the region in January 2002.

The Mriya is capable of carrying a payload weighing up to 247 tonnes.
Antonov Airlines


Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below