Hyderabad, May 13 (IANS) The world’s largest cargo aircraft AN-225 Myria landed here for a stopover on the way to Australia from Turkmenistan.
The aircraft of Antonov Airlines of Ukraine touched down at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport early on Friay for a 24-hour halt.
Airport operator GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) said in a statement that the aircraft will proceed to Jakarta in Indonesia and from there to Perth.
The big bird has been parked at the airport’s Code-F (Airbus A380 Compatible) cargo apron.
“We are most happy that the largest aircraft in the world is landing for the first time in the largest democracy of the world,” Ukraine ambassador to India Igor Polikha said.
“The Indian public and Indian specialists will see with their own eyes the unique potential of Ukraine aviation industry.”
The flying behemoth, which holds almost 240 world records, is powered by six supercharged turbo-fan engines, operated by a six-man crew, and lifts a mammoth 640 tonnes of MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight).
The aircraft is 84 metres long, 18.1 metres high, has a wingspan of 88.4 metres and a fuel capacity of 300,000 kg. Its maximum speed is 850 km per hour with a 15,400 km range and 11,000 metres cruising altitude.
The Hyderabad airport was chosen for the halt based on several factors, such as runway length, ground manoeuvering area, technical facilities, air traffic density and proximity to the trans-continental air route.
Only a few airports in the world can handle the aircraft’s landing and take-off since its wing span is wider than even the world’s largest passenger carrier, the Airbus A380 double-decker aircraft.
“The landing of AN-225 Myria is a testimony to our robust infrastructure, technical expertise and operational efficiency,” said S.G.K. Kishore, CEO, GHIAL.
The development at a time when Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence has signed a strategic pact last month with ANtonic Company of Ukraine for the assembly, manufacture and maintenance and repair of is platforms in India, both for the commercial and the military market.
Reliance Defence together with Antonov will jointly address various requirements including 50-80 seat passenger aircraft programme of the HAL, in its basic configuration and in all its variants such as transport, maritime patrol and other military roles.
India is said to require over 200 medium lift turbofan aircraft valued at Rs.35,000 crore, which is the backbone of all tactical transport support of the air force, army and paramilitary forces.
“Reliance and Antonov have ventured out to create India’s aerospace major in the private sector,” said Air Marshal M. Matheswaran (Retired), president of aerospace business for Reliance Defence.
“Their technical expertise with Reliance’s business innovation is sure to translate ‘Make in India’ a huge success.”
Talking about the joint venture, Sergey Semovonik, vice president for Antonov, said: “Yesterday, Antonov with Reliance Group submitted the joint proposal for the creating of passengers regional aircraft. Today, we brought the largest aircraft to India to make the Indian side confident that Antonov is capable and a reliable partner.”