The Antonov An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest operating aircraft, returned to base after two months of an intensive flight campaign dedicated to the coronavirus COVID-19 relief effort.
With over eleven transcontinental flights within the last two months, the An-225 has to return to base for a routine maintenance check of its engines. Additionally, the airframe will be checked in order to extend the aircraft Airworthiness Certificate into 2021. “In 10 days, after completing the technical checks and extension of the Airworthiness Certificate, An-225 Mriya will be available on the commercial market again for new charters,” an Antonov Airlines spokesperson told AeroTime.
On May 23, 2020, upon landing in Montreal, Canada, the super transporter was grounded for three days after an issue with the fuel pump of engine number 4 was detected. Spare parts and a technical team were chartered from the Antonov Airport (GML) in Hostomel, Ukraine, using an Antonov Airlines AN-74T.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya started participating in the coronavirus crisis effort on April 14, 2020, when it carried a flight chartered by Chapman Freeborn ‒ the first for the AN-225 after maintenance and modernization performed by Antonov Company. A week later, the transporter broke the record for cargo volume transported by air twice.
The latest flight was a cargo charter from Tianjin, China to Shannon, Ireland, on June 10, 2020, with a stopover in Kazakhstan. The plane delivered over 900,000 medical gowns for the Irish medical staff. Shannon Airport (SNN) in Limerick, western Ireland, was the only airport in the country with a runway long enough for the gigantic aircraft to land. It took off for its home base of Kyiv on June 12, 2020.
WATCH @AntonovCompany #AN225 departs @ShannonAirport pic.twitter.com/MSRziFHYkh— Shannon Airport (@ShannonAirport) June 12, 2020
With an 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.