Antonov An-225's first ever visit to India
Ukraine-based Antonov's An-225 Mriya cargo aircraft, also known as 'Dream' has made its first ever landing in India today. Antonov's collaborators in Mumbai confirmed that the world's biggest cargo aircraft has landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. The plane, which came in from Turkmenistan to Hyderabad, is specially developed to take on a transcontinental-route while lifting a payload of 180-230 tonnes.
Antonov An-225 Mriya is an airlift cargo aircraft designed by Ukraine's Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s. An-225 is powered by six turbofan engines and can carry a maximum weight of 640 tonnes. The aircraft is the biggest, heaviest, and longest plane ever manufactured; it also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. In Ukrainian, 'Mriya' means Dream or Inspiration.
The only An-225 aircraft was completed in 1988. It had even served in the Soviet Military in several missions. It was mothballed and later re-introduced for commercial operations with the Antonov Airlines for carrying massive payloads.
Reliance Group had tied up with Ukraine-based Antonov for building transport aircraft, which would be used for military, paramilitary, and civil purposes in India. The Rs.35k-crore-worth joint venture was expected to generate employment opportunities in the primary and secondary industrial sectors for over 7,000 people. The venture would give a boost to the Indian Air Force's plan to upgrade its AN-32s built by Antonov.
It was announced that AN-225 cargo aircraft would soon make its Indian debut; it was expected to land at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. In a press release, it was stated that the aircraft would be airlifting load and would land at Hyderabad while taking a transcontinental route. Antonov's other aircraft, An-32, had served the Indian Air Force and Navy for over five decades.
Antonov An-225 Mriya set several world records- airlifting single item payload of 1,89,980 kgs; airlifting total payload of 2,53,820 kgs; and transporting a payload of 2,47,000 kgs on a commercial aircraft.
Loaded with its cargo, An-225 had embarked on its journey from Prague to Perth on 10 May 2016. The heavyweight aircraft is due to land in Perth on 15 May 2016; a Western Australia resources company had purchased an 117-tonne generator, which is being carried by Mriya. Western Australia Aviation Association stated that it might be the only time the Mriya travels to Australia.
Officials stated that the An-225 aircraft needs to be refueled for every 4000 kilometers it travels. According to the officials, the plane would start from Prague and then stop at Turkmenistan, Hyderabad and Jakarta for refueling en-route to Perth. The Antonov-225 Mriya would stay in Perth, where thousands are expected to flock to the airport, for two days and would depart on 17 May'16.