Airports

Published on June 7th, 2020 | by Alan Dwyer

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World’s Largest Aircraft to Visit Shannon

UPDATE 2: Following a technical delay at Almaty, Kazakhstan the highly anticipated arrival of the An-225 at Shannon will now take place today. The Antonov departed from Almaty in the early hours of this morning and made a 3h 16 min flight to Baku in Azerbaijan. After unloading some of the cargo, the aircraft then departed for Shannon at 06.30 (GMT time). With an expected flight time of around six and a half hours, the Antonov An-225 should arrive in Shannon at 13.00 (local time) this afternoon. The aircraft is now expected to depart Shannon on Thursday at 11.00am. Anyone with photos of the aircraft at Shannon can send them to mark@flyinginireland.com and we will publish them on www.flyinginireland.com in the coming days.

UPDATE: The scheduled arrival of the Antonov An-225 to Shannon for Tuesday has been postponed. The aircraft has suffered a technical issue at Almaty in Kazakstan. Latest reports are that the aircraft will undergo repairs on Tuesday and continue its journey late on Tuesday evening. Provisional timings are now showing the arrival on the Antonov An-225 to Shannon at 11.00 (local) on Wednesday. We will update if there is any further changes.

The world’s largest aircraft and only six engined transport plane is due to pay an overnight visit to Shannon on Tuesday 9th June and depart the following day. The Antonov An-225 Mriya will be bringing in cargo to be off loaded at Shannon. The crew will stay overnight for a rest period and depart empty to its home base of Gostomel Airport, Kiev in Ukraine. The aircraft has been operating extensively in recent weeks carrying PPE (Personnel Protective Equipment) from China and Japan to Canada via Anchorage. The aircraft will have a very busy day on the 9th June, it is due to leave Almaty International Airport in Kazakstan at 01.00 (GMT times) and fly to Baku with an arrival time of 04.30. It will then continue on to Leipzig in Germany at 06.30 with an expected arrival time of 11.30. After a two hour stopover, it will depart for Shannon where it is expected to arrive at 16.45 (local time) on Tuesday afternoon. Currently, the aircraft is scheduled to depart Shannon at 14.30 on Wednesday afternoon.

Built in 1988, the Antonov An-225 has previously visited Shannon on four occasions. Its first visit was on 22nd November 1991 when it was still registered in the Soviet Union as CCCP-82060. It was carrying 140 tons of medical supplies donated by an American Church for victims of the 1986 nuclear reactor disaster in Chernobyl. This was a very rare visitor to Western Europe at the time as it had only ever visited Europe for the Paris and Farnborough Airshows and an occasional cargo flight. When it visited the Paris Airshow in 1989, the An-225 was carrying the Russian Space Shuttle ‘Buran’. This was the initial production purpose of the Antonov An-225 as it was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124 and the only An-225 aircraft to be completed. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was stored for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines for carrying oversized payloads. This aircraft then visited Shannon again in the colours of Antonov Airlines in October 2006, May 2013 and April 2015 as UR-82060.

A rear view of the Antonov An-225

The cargo hold of the An-225 is pressurised and has a size of 1300 cubic metres. It can carry a payload of over 250 tonnes which it did back in 2001 when it carried four Army tanks and this payload is still a listed record for air freight in a single load. It has become an asset to international relief organisations for its ability to quickly transport huge quantities of emergency supplies during disaster relief operations. The aircraft was out of service for just over a year for an avionics upgrade but returned to service in late March and has been in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The times listed above are all subject to change and if further updates are available, we will endeavour to correct them as we hear it in advance of its arrival.

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