The Antonov An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest plane, started participating in the coronavirus crisis effort. The giant completed its first commercial flight between Tianjin, China, and Warsaw, Poland, transporting medical equipment, including 7 million masks.
The 290-foot wingspan plane powered by six engines took off from its base in Kiev Hostomel Airport (GML), Ukraine, and made a refuel stopover in Almaty International Airport (ALA), Kazakhstan, on April 11, 2020. The next day, it continued its journey to Tianjin International Airport (TSN), China.
Video of departure of the #AN225 from the Kyiv-Antonov-2 International Airport to perform commercial missions to fight the #coronavirus. April 11, 2020— Antonov Company (@AntonovCompany) April 12, 2020
Відео вильоту літака #Ан225 з аеродрому „Київ-Антонов-2”у комерційнійний рейс для боротьби з коронавірусом! 11.04.2020 pic.twitter.com/MCunxdw05O
There, it took more than fifteen hours to fill the cargo hold of Mriya (UR-82060) with medical supplies, including 7 million masks, according to the Polish company KGHM, which chartered the aircraft. With a MTOW of 600 metric tons and a hold volume of 1,300 cubic meters, the unique plane is the perfect asset for such relief efforts.
Loading An-225 isn’t an easy job.— ChinaAviationReview (@ChinaAvReview) April 13, 2020
The beast took 15 hours loading medical supplies in Tianjin today. pic.twitter.com/ayRH9uumLv
With another stopover in Almaty, Mriya eventually landed in Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW), Poland, on April 14, 2020.
Check the landing in Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW):
That new mission was the first flight for the An-225 since the end of a two-year modernization campaign. The first test flight was completed as recently as March 25, 2020.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya joins the five smaller An-124-100 heavy transporters that are already operating humanitarian cargo flights between China and Europe to fight the epidemic.
Other European manufacturers dedicated resources to the ongoing effort: Airbus set up an air bridge between Europe and China to bring protective facemasks and other medical equipment to be spread among France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain. To carry out this mission, the manufacturer allocated an A330-800, an A330 MRTT, an A400M and the Beluga fleet.
Similarly, Dassault Aviation put two Falcon business jets at the disposal of the French government. They were tasked with transporting the medical personnel that accompanied patients from Paris to the less affected French hospitals.