Ukraine-based Antonov Airlines confirmed that as a result of attack and capture of Ukrainian civil Kyiv-Antonov airport (Gostomel, GML) by Russian troops, the largest aircraft in the world AN-225 MRIYA was damaged and burned down.

"The aircraft was at the home base in Ukraine for maintenance.The loss of this unique aircraft, which was the real piece of technical art, is a great loss not only for Antonov Company and Ukraine, but for the entire aviation world…"

Earlier, Antonov, which owns and flies the unique 250-tonne payload AN-225 Mriya (meaning dream or inspiration) had said that "until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft."

AN-225 carried more than 1,300 tonnes of medical and humanitarian cargo in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.Image Credit: Antonov Airlines/Emmanuel Schawaller

Mriya holds multiple records including the heaviest aircraft ever built and the absolute world record for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kg and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg. It also transported a payload of 247,000 kg on a commercial flight.

Antonov specialises in the transportation of outsized and project cargo worldwide using its fleet of seven AN-124-100 Ruslan aircraft (two with payload up to 150 tonnes) and the 60-tonne payload AN-22. It also operates smaller AN-74 and AN-26 aircraft.

Founded more than 30 years ago, Antonov Airlines is a division of Antonov Company, headquartered in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a Ukrainian state-owned enterprise, which designs, develops, produces, and maintains the AN aircraft. It is also a member of leading international project cargo specialist group The Heavy Lift Group.

Mriya was developed for transportation of the Buran shuttle orbiter and components of the Energiya carrier rocket. The two AN-225 built were expected to be used as a flying space launching site in the reusable aerospace transport system (MAKS) with the aeroplane making its first stage and a small-size space shuttle with a fuel tank – the second stage.

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