Gi­ant of the skies a crowd pleaser

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

THE largest air­craft in the world at­tracted about 20,000 peo­ple to the Perth Air­port on Sun­day, com­plet­ing a 14,000km flight from the Czech Repub­lic to de­liver a 117-tonne gen­er­a­tor for an alu­minium re­fin­ery in Col­lie.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya, which is 84m long and 18m high with a wing­span of 84.4m, was mak­ing its first ever flight to Aus­tralia and touched down about 11.45am.

The best lo­ca­tion for the ar­rival was the tem­po­rary view­ing area on Air­port Drive, with thou­sands of spec­ta­tors lin­ing up at the fence to see the ‘gi­ant of the skies’ taxi past af­ter land­ing on Run­way 21.

Perth Air­port ex­ec­u­tive gen­eral man­ager ex­ter­nal af­fairs Fiona Lan­der said the level of pub­lic in­ter­est in the ar­rival of the Antonov was un­prece­dented.

“We worked closely with Antonov to en­sure ev­ery­one who came to see the air­craft got a good view on Taxi­way Char­lie this morn­ing,” Ms Lan­der said.

“The sheer size of the An-225 was breath­tak­ing, with the click of cam­era shut­ters audi­ble over the roar of the six en­gines as it tax­ied past.”

Karpe­les Flight Ser­vices, a spe­cial­ist of DB Lo­gis­tics sub­sidiary DB Schenker for the char­ter­ing of air­crafts was re­spon­si­ble for the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the trip around the world.

The trans­porta­tion of the gen­er­a­tor started on May 10 in the Czech Repub­lic city of Pilsen, be­fore it was loaded on the gi­ant 28-year-old plane in Prague.

Schenker Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Ron Koehler said the plane had three stop-overs en route to Perth, at Turk­men­bashi in Turk­menistan, Hy­der­abad and Kuala Lumpur.

“The ex­cite­ment was great, there were high ex­pec­ta­tions and to or­gan­ise the air­freight in an Antonov 225 is an ab­so­lute high­light,” Mr Koehler said.

DB Schenker also ar­ranged for the land trans­port to the Aus­tralian client, an alu­minium re­fin­ery in Col­lie.

With its 21 crew com­prised of seven cock­pit crew, one flight man­ager, six en­gi­neers and ad­di­tional sup­port crew, the Antonov was ex­pected to de­part Perth, bound for Italy, early this morn­ing.

Thou­sands turned out to wit­ness the his­toric flight of the Antonov An-225 Mriya.

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