Antonov Has Launched A Fundraiser To Restore The An-225 Mriya

An-225 restoration
Antonov An-225 landing at Gostomel Airport in 2014. (Image credit: Vasiliy Koba via Wiki)

The only An-225 Mriya was destroyed during the early stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Antonov now wants to restore it but needs funds.

As everybody knows by now, the only An-225 Mriya (NATO reporting name: Cossack), the world’s heaviest aircraft ever built, the one with the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service and the largest cargo in operational service, was destroyed at Antonov Airport, also called “Hostomel” or “Gostomel” Airport, located in a northwestern suburb of Kyiv, between Feb. 25 and 26, during the fightings between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

The rumours that the aircraft had been destroyed started spreading on social media and eventually found an official confirmation when two different Ukrainian Government accounts confirmed it. Despite the statements from the official accounts of the Government, Antonov Airlines, a Ukrainian cargo airline, a division of the Antonov aviation company, operating international charter services in the oversized-cargo market with a fleet that included also An-124 Ruslan cargos, had not confirmed the actual status of the giant aircraft, leaving hope that the An-225 might have been damaged but not totally destroyed in the attack.

Some hope was also supported by satellite photos of the airfield, imagery taken on Feb. 28, 2022, that showed a damaged hangar but at least a chunk of the aircraft’s tail still intact. But on Mar. 3, 2022, a Russian state TV visited the airport and their images, showing also the inside of the hangar, eventually provided the final proof that the An-225 had been almost completely destroyed.

Antonov has remained silent about the fate of the An-225. No official statement was released by the company on their social media accounts; just a couple of retweets on Twitter of some user wishing the Mriya to rise again like the phoenix:

However, on Mar. 24, 2022, Antonov’s official FB page posted a message (along with the scanned pages of the original open letter) addressed to the “International Aviation Community and all the careful people of the civilized world” asking help to rebuild the aircraft.

“In February 2022 a disaster happened,” says the letter that we translated using Google Translate (please excuse any inaccuracies). “During the aggression against Ukraine the An-225 “Mriya” plane was destroyed. This loss has stunned the team of Antonov DP, the global aviation community, numerous cargo customers of the largest aircraft. Despite the difficult times, the team of Antonov DP strongly considers it necessary to prevent the complete irreversible loss of the legendary aircraft as one of the symbols of modernity and to begin work on the restoration of the flagship of transport aviation, the An-225 “Mriya”. For this there are all things – structural and scientific and technical documentation, namely the main thing – presence, great desire and inspiration of the team of Antonov”. Unfortunately, in a difficult time for Ukraine Antonov, there is a lack of funds to carry out this task. We propose to establish the International Fund for the rebuilding of the transport aircraft An-225 “Mriya”.

The letter goes on providing an IBAN and a series of bank details that can be used to fund the restoration works.

The letter, signed by Antonov CEO Sergii Bychkov, does not specify how much money the company needs to rebuild/restore the aircraft, if the remains of the aircraft have been already secured or moved, how much of the airframe has eventually survived; etc. The post on FB has been already shared more than 1.5K times and obtained some 2.2K likes. However, it has also received a significant amount of negative comments: some people criticized the fact that the aircraft was not moved to a safe spot before the invasion; others argue that fundraising activities should be aimed at rebuilding houses destroyed in the war or given to childcare associations, etc. At the time of writing Antonov has limited who can comment on the post, although comments can still be read on the images accompanying it.

Restoring or rebuilding the An-225 seems to be a titanic effort at the moment. Anyway, we will keep you updated as additional details about the restoration project emerge.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.