Ukraine seeks Chinese investment to revive the world's biggest plane

An Antonov An-225 Mriya (Dream) cargo plane is seen on the tarmac of the Antonov aircraft plant in the village of Gostomel, outside Kiev, Ukraine. © Valentyn Ogirenko
Kiev wants to attract $500 million of investment from China to complete an updated version of the world's biggest aircraft AN-225 Mriya (‘Dream’), the president of manufacturer Antonov told Reuters.

The cargo plane was developed in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s and was initially designed as a carrier for the Soviet Buran (Snowstorm) space shuttle. The only example completed is still in use. With a capacity of 250 tons the plane weighs 640 tons on takeoff.

Work on building a second plane started in 1988 but has never been completed.

Antonov’s deputy head said in May that Ukraine had been considering starting joint manufacturing with China and was planning to invite Chinese investors to the project.

On August 30, Antonov and China’s Aerospace Industry Corporation signed a cooperation agreement which will pave the way for serial production of the AN-225 in China.

Antonov President Oleksandr Kotsiuba said it could take about five years to complete the aircraft once a contract between the two sides is signed.

Soon there'll be more than one #an-225 in the skies.

A video posted by RT (@rt) on

"The second Mriya will be completed here, in Kiev, and could cost up to $500 million depending on the equipment installed," said Kotsiuba, adding future cooperation with the Chinese company would depend on the successful completion of the plane.

The only existing AN-225 aircraft first flew in 1988 and is operated by Antonov Airlines, a division of the Antonov company.