Billionaire Richard Branson has visited Hostomel Airport in Ukraine where the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, was destroyed at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After his visit to Ukraine, Branson wrote in a blog post that he hoped “Mriya’s legacy will endure, and that the international community will find ways to help Ukraine rebuild not only this airfield but bring Ukraine’s aerospace industry back to life”.
According to the local politicians, Branson said he was ready to help Ukraine rebuild the An-225 aircraft. But Ukrainian reporter Alex Khrebet claimed that Branson is interested in restoration of the airfield, not the An-225 Mriya aircraft.
Branson is interested in restoration of the airfield, not An-225 Mriya aircraft.— Alexander Khrebet/Олександр Хребет (@AlexKhrebet) June 29, 2022
AeroTime has asked Virgin Atlantic for a comment.
The An-225 cargo plane was destroyed following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Since the early days of war, there has been a lot of talk about building another Mriya. In May 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he wanted to build another An-225 Mriya in honor of the pilots who have died during the war.
The aircraft’s manufacturer, Antonov, has already started an appeal to raise the funds needed to rebuild the iconic aircraft.
In a recent interview with AeroTime, Mriya’s pilot Dmytro Antonov said that before building the second Mriya “we have to have a clear understanding of the exact cost” and that the “work is not going to be quick, it will take years”.
Since the invasion, Antonov has continued to operate An-124 freighters out of Germany’s Leipzig Airport. The company is also working on restoring Hostomel Airport.