BBC's Jeremy Bowen confirms destruction of world's biggest plane and Doncaster favourite in Ukraine

The world’s biggest plane and a favourite at Doncaster Sheffield Airport has been destroyed in Ukraine by Russian troops, BBC war correspondent Jeremy Bowen has confirmed.

By Darren Burke
Sunday, 3rd April 2022, 5:58 am

The Antonov An-225, the only one of its kind in the world, has been a regular sight in the skies over Doncaster in recent years.

The huge aircraft was based at Hostomel airport around an hour's drive from Kyiv and which came under attack from Russian helicopters and paratroopers.

The Russians have now abandoned the area and in his latest report from Ukraine, Bowen showed viewers the devastation in the area, including the wreckage of the cargo plane, which has been totally destroyed.

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The BBC's Jeremy Bowen has confirmed the destruction of the Antonov 225 in Ukraine. (Photo: BBC)

He said: “In the midst of it all, there’s this – this is the wreck that was the Mryia, the dream, Myria in Ukrainian.

"It was the world’s biggest cargo aircraft.

"A huge amount of national pride was wrapped up in this – it was a symbol of modernity, of Ukraine’s place in the world, striking out across the globe – and now it’s a symbol of what’s happened to the country.”

The aircraft, designed by the Soviet Union’s Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980, was the longest and heaviest airplane ever built with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes. It also had the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service.

The Antonov 225, the world's biggest plane, has been destroyed in Ukraine.

Only one AN-225 Mryia was ever built by the company Antonov, and the giant of the skies has made several visits to Doncaster Sheffield, formerly Robin Hood in recent years, attracting scores of aviation buffs.

In February it was reported that the hangar housing the AN-225 had been damaged in the fighting.

The airport was struck by missiles prior to the attack and has reportedly been shelled by Russian forces.

There were other huge Antonov aircraft also located there and the plane had been invaluable in tranporting large amounts of humanitarian aid around the world at short notice during emergencies.

On 11 June 2010, the An-225 carried the world's longest piece of air cargo, two 42.1 m (138 ft) test wind turbine blades from Tianjin, China, to Skrydstrup, Denmark.