Largest aircraft in the world touches down at Shannon Airport
It boasts a wingspan wider than Croke Park's pitch.
The Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest aircraft, has touched down at Shannon Airport again on Tuesday (19 October).
Coming from China and carrying a cargo consignment for distribution in the Irish retail sector, Shannon Airport's runway - the longest in Ireland at 3,199m - makes the airport the only one in the country capable of accommodating the plane.
The six-storey-high, Ukrainian-built aircraft is the only one of its kind, boasting a wingspan of 88 metres, 32 wheels and the capability to carry 640 tonnes on take-off.
The giant plane has landed at Shannon five times in the recent past, the last time being in June 2020.
This was when the Antonov carried the single largest consignment of PPE to be flown into Ireland on a single flight.
At that time, the plane took 20 men, on shift rotation, 15 hours to hand-load 6,249 boxes weighing 18 kgs each.
You can watch JOE's video of the plane's previous touch-down in Shannon below.
“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," Shannon Airport Operations and Commercial Director Niall Maloney said.
"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 attracts significant interest, with Maloney stating that aviation enthusiasts from around Ireland travel to Shannon in large numbers to see it.
The Antonov is due to depart from Shannon at 9am on Wednesday, 20 October.