Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group and a space entrepreneur, went to the Antonov airport in Ukraine. This is where Mriya, the world’s largest cargo plane, crashed. Business Insider said that local politicians said that Branson has offered to help rebuild the cargo plane.
Antonov, a Ukrainian aerospace company, made the An-225, which was the biggest cargo plane in the world. When it was first shown to the world in 1988, the plane was about 50 percent bigger than any other plane that had been seen before. The plane was made to carry the Soviet Union’s Buran spaceplane, but when the Soviet Union fell, it was bought by the Ukrainian aerospace company Antonov, which named it Mriya, which means “dream.”
Since 2001, the plane has been used to carry cargo for a living. During its time in service, it has set many records, such as carrying 187.6 tonnes, which is about the weight of two fully loaded A320s, in its belly during a flight in 2009.
The plane provided emergency aid during the pandemic and was supposed to work until the end of the decade. However, when Russian forces attacked its base at Antonov airport in Hostomel, Ukraine, they broke it beyond repair.
Before the fall of the Soviet Union, another An-225 was in the works, but it had to be put on hold because of a lack of money. Antonov may still have the fuselage of that plane, which he put on hold, and could now use it to rebuild Mriya.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, also said that his government had thought about making a plane like the Mriya before the war, but could not find the money to do so. Since the original plane was destroyed, Ukraine wants to build a new one to honor the pilots who died in this war, and money is no longer a problem.
The founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, in Hostomel, Kyiv oblast. Local authorities say, the billionaire was interested in the Antonov airfield, the last resting place of the legendary An-225 Mriya, and possibilities to restore it. pic.twitter.com/Do2pETwkj8
— Alexander Khrebet/Олександр Хребет (@AlexKhrebet) June 29, 2022
Richard Branson gives a hand
Local politician Davyd Arakhamia, who is part of the ruling government, posted pictures of Branson’s visit on his Telegram channel and said, “The Russian occupiers can destroy anything, but they can’t destroy the Dream.”
Arakhamia also said that plans were in the works to build a “stronger” and “more modern” Mriya after the war. He also said that he and Branson talked about rebuilding the aircraft and working together in the field of aerospace during the visit.
People say that Branson has agreed to help in any way he can. A local news reporter also wrote on Twitter that Branson wants to rebuild the airfield, which was destroyed during the conflict.
Branson hasn’t talked about what role he would like to play in rebuilding the cargo plane in public. Business Insider said that Virgin has also not said anything about how the company is helping to fix up the planes or the aviation infrastructure in Ukraine.