Aircraft manufacturer Antonov decided to appeal to the international aviation community and fans of the An-225 Mriya, the largest aircraft ever created in history. The only example of the airlifter was destroyed last month after an attack by Russian forces on the Gostomel airport in Kiev, where the largest plane in the world was based.
“Despite the difficult times, the Antonov team resolutely considers it necessary to prevent the complete irretrievable loss of the legendary aircraft as one of the symbols of modernity and to begin the revival of the AN-225 Mriya transport aviation flagship,” said a letter signed by Sergiy Bychkov, CEO of Antonov posted on the company’s Facebook page.
There is every reason for this – design, scientific and technical documentation, and most important – availability, great desire and inspiration of the Antonov team. Unfortunately, at a difficult time for Ukraine and Antonov Company there is not enough money to solve this problem”, he explains.
To obtain the financial resources for what Bychkov called the An-225 “revival”, he proposes creating an International Fund to raise “non-repayable financial aid”.
The Antonov CEO’s letter includes several bank accounts details where supporters can deposit any amount. The manufacturer’s director did not reveal how much he intends to raise with the campaign or a project value to bring back the Mriya.
Proposal still unclear
The statement from Antonov’s CEO does not clarify which proposal is intended. Instead of using the terms “rebuild” or “recover”, the company talks about restoring the aircraft, but without explaining under what conditions.
However, images of the wreckage at Gostomel Airport after the Russian attack suggest that the An-225 was completely lost. In addition to hitting the giant six-engine plane, the Russian attack also destroyed an An-26 and an An-74 belonging to Antonov Airlines.
One option would be to complete a second unfinished airframe of the Mriya, stored for over 30 years at Gostomel airfield. However, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, the condition of the old structure is unknown. Furthermore, this possibility was ruled out in the past by Antonov herself, who considered the proposal “unfeasible”.
Another option would be to build a brand new An-225, maybe even an updated version. However, such a program would certainly cost a few billion dollars and Antonov is currently unable to make investments. In all scenarios, plans to develop and manufacture planes in Ukraine, small or large, would only go ahead after the end of the conflict with Russia.