Ukrainian Antonov An-225, regarded as the largest aircraft in the world has landed in the Southern African country of Namibia, touching down at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako international airport in the afternoon.
According to simpleflying.com, the aircraft arrived the country to deliver medical aid from Germany, and was in the air once again several hours later, with a flight up to Accra, Ghana in West Africa.
According to Allgemeine Zeitung, the An-225 was dispatched to the southwestern African nation from Germany, carrying the first of three medical aid shipments. The aircraft and its precious cargo were met by a number of VIPs, including the EU and German ambassadors to Namibia. The reason for the special welcome was due to the fact that the supplies were a donation from Germany.
Speaking to the media yesterday, the Namibian Minister for International Relations highlighted the need for more medical supplies in his country, urging Namibian diplomatic missions abroad to mobilize support:
Specifics of the aircraft’s journey
The Antonov An-225 registered UR-82060 left its home in Kyiv (Ukraine) on July 5th, making a short journey to Leipzig Halle Airport in Germany. After spending the entirety of July 6th at Leipzig, the aircraft departed for Accra (Ghana) on July 7th.
This intercontinental flight took seven hours and nine minutes- nowhere near as long as the recent 11-hour flights it has been making between Anchorage and Tianjin.
The aircraft spent the night in Accra before departing at 07:00 local time on July 8th for the five-hour journey to Windhoek. It finally arrived in Namibia at 14:04 local time.
The An-225’s previous mission
Beng the largest aircraft in the world, the An-225 is typically tasked for very special missions, which are typically quite newsworthy. The behemoth’s mission prior to the Germany-Ghana-Namibia operation took it from a warzone in the Middle East to an Air Force base in the United Kingdom.
Indeed, on June 23rd, the aircraft collected three Puma helicopters from Kabul (Afghanistan). These military helicopters had been used for the UK’s mission in Afghanistan and were headed home due to the British withdrawal of forces. After a short stop in Karachi (Pakistan), the An-225, loaded with helicopters, then made the long-distance, 10-hour journey to RAF Brize Norton in West Oxfordshire, England.
While this would be an interesting story on its own, the aircraft’s departure from RAF Brize Norton drew further attention. As Simple Flying had reported on June 25th, the sheer force of the aircraft’s departure from the airbase’s 3,050-meter long runway caused part of its perimeter fence to collapse in front of the planespotters. Thankfully, there were no reported injuries.
Furthermore, the “Antonov An-225 Mriya” has landed at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
The current Antonov An-225 Mriya, which is the only one in operation, flew from Leipzig and successfully landed at KIA shortly after 4pm on July 7, 2021.
According to pulse.com.gh, the arrival of the aircraft gives credence to the fact that Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport is capable of hosting all types of aircraft.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a six engine, strategic heavy lift cargo transport aircraft designed and manufactured by the Antonov Design Bureau (ADB) of Ukraine. The term Mriya refers to the word dream or inspiration in English. Its NATO reporting name is Cossack.
The aircraft was derived from the An-124 Ruslan (NATO: Condor). Cossack is the heaviest fixed wing aircraft in the world to carry 640t of cargo. It is bigger than an Airbus 380 airliner, the An-124 and the Boeing 747 Freighter.
Meanwhile, as air transport demand improves, major airlines are now operating scheduled flights with only crew members fully vaccinated against COVID-19.