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.
— Aeronews (@AeronewsGlobal) March 4, 2022
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:
Long live the dream …#AN225, may you soar again like the phoenix someday.
— Contrail the Aviator Folf (^w^)/ ✈ (THESIS HIATUS) (@ContrailWolFox) March 4, 2022
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.
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.