Ukraine’s air cargo masterpiece, the Antonov AN-225, may soar the skies again

Antonov An-225 Mriya

One of the biggest casualties of the Russo-Ukrainian war was the Antonov AN-225 Mriya – both literally and figuratively. On 24th February 2022, the Russian troops destroyed Ukraine’s ‘dream’ in the battle of Hostomel Airport just outside Kyiv. However, Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has announced that the Mriya – a symbol of his nation’s pride – will take to the skies again. The country plans on reviving the legendary Antonov An-225 airplane by finishing the second airframe that has been sitting around since the before the fall of the Soviet Union.

Charred remains of the Antonov AN-225

Back in February, Ukroboronprom, Ukraine’s state defence company that manages Antonov issued a statement that the cost of rebuilding the plane at USD 3 billion will be on the Russian Federation’s tab for being intentionally detrimental to Ukraine’s aviation and air cargo sector. However, during a recent online call with Ukrainian students, Zelensky said, “We wanted to build it, we needed USD 800 million. I appealed to the President of Turkey with a proposal to build the 2nd Mriya, but we did not find the money.” He added that the issue was not the money but the ambition to see the plan through.

We were approached by Ukroboronprom, the Antonov team. This is a question of the image of our country and all the excellent professional pilots who died in this war … How much they have done, and today we can already say how many lives of people who remained in Mariupol, especially in Azovstal they saved … How many pilots gave their lives to bring everything there, from weapons to water. And how many wounded they took from there. A large number of these people died heroically. To build a MRIYA for the sake of the memory of heroes is the right state position.”

Volodymyr Zelensky

According to the President, along with the aircraft’s caretakers, rebuilding the Mriya will not only be an ode to the defendants of Mariupol but will also be the best way to gibe at Russia.

The second airframe of the AN-225 has been sitting at the hangar, 70% complete, but has not yet been able to garner enough funding to complete the construction. Moreover, a lot of it comes down to the cost-conscious commercial aviation of today. But now, with the one and only completed airframe burned out into a charred mess, finally finishing that second airframe is back on the table.

The unfinished second airframe of the AN-225 at the hangar

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