World’s largest plane visits Shannon

World’s largest plane visits Shannon


The world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225 touched down at Shannon Airport this afternoon from China carrying a cargo consignment for distribution in the Irish retail sector.

With the longest runway in Ireland at 3,199m, Shannon Airport is the only airport in Ireland capable of accommodating the Antonov AN-225.

The mammoth aircraft has visited Shannon six times previously including June 2020 when it carried the single largest consignment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be flown into Ireland on a single flight. At that time the AN-225 took 20 men, on shift rotation, 15 hours to hand load 6,249 boxes weighing 18 kgs each.

Speaking about the Antonov 225, Niall Maloney, Shannon Airport Operations & Commercial Director said: “With a wingspan wider than the Croke Park pitch and, from nose to tail, over one and a half times the length of an Olympic swimming pool, the Antonov 225 stands alone as the largest plane ever made. It is wonderful to see the plane flying in commercial cargo, a further sign of a recovery in our economy.

“We love having the Antonov here. It’s an incredible aircraft and when you see it on the taxiway here, it dwarfs anything else on the airfield. When you take its enormous size into perspective, it’s almost unbelievable that it can get up into the skies, let alone be as graceful when it’s up there. The plane also attracts significant interest with aviation enthusiasts from around the country who travel here in large numbers to view this unique aircraft,” he said.

The six-storey-high, Ukrainian-built Antonov AN-225 is the only one of its kind. It has a wingspan of 88 metres, 32 wheels and is capable of carrying 640,000 kilograms on take-off. Known as the ‘Mriya’ the Russian word for dream.

The Antonov is due to depart Shannon at 9.00am on Wednesday 20th October.

More on the Antonov (Mriya) AN-225:

The Antonov AN-225 is the biggest commercial cargo aircraft in the world.

It’s the longest-bodied, longest-winged and heaviest operational plane in the world. Its cargo compartment is 43 m by 6.4 m by 4.4 m – big enough to hold 50 cars. And there is only one operational Antonov An-225 in the world!

Manufactured in 1988 for the Russian Space Programme

Its first flight was on December 21st, 1988, and the jet will turn 33 just before Christmas ‘21

It stands over six stories high

It comprises 7 million lbs of metal

It has six engines and 32 tyres

It broke 109 world records within months of its first flight

It has six Turbofan Engines

Maximum take-off weight 640,000 kgs

Max lift Load: 250,000 kgs

Capacity: 1,200 cubic metres

Wingspan: 88 metres (The width of Croke Park is also 88 metres)

Length: 84 metres

Weight: 640 tonnes (same weight as nine Boeing 737 aircraft)

The giant plane has landed at Shannon six times prior to today (1991, 2003, 2006, 2013, 2015, 2020 (PPE) and October 2021.

The Antonov 225, in different colours, at Shannon in 2003 – Photo: © Pat Flynn