EUROPE & CIS: An-225 helps clear volcano backlog

In one of the stranger side-effects of the Icelandic volcano’s eruption, the world’s largest freighter – the Antonov An-225 – has performed its first charter from China, carrying a full load of general cargo. The aircraft – owned by Antonov Airlines and normally associated only with the very largest and heaviest outsize loads – transported […]


In one of the stranger side-effects of the Icelandic volcano’s eruption, the world’s largest freighter – the Antonov An-225 – has performed its first charter from China, carrying a full load of general cargo. The aircraft – owned by Antonov Airlines and normally associated only with the very largest and heaviest outsize loads – transported the cargo from Shijiazhuang Airport (SJW) near Beijing to Vitoria (VIT), Spain on behalf of a major, but unspecified freight forwarder. The unusual operation was necessitated by the serious air cargo backlogs that have built up in China due to the closure of European airspace for several days following the volcanic eruption.

Antonov Airlines’ commercial director Valery Kulbaka explains: “The An-225 is not usually used for general cargo, but its proximity at the time of the charter, and the magnitude of the overall backlog problem, enabled us to provide a viable solution for the client on this occasion.”

“The An-225 is normally accepted by a number of airports in Spain. The aircraft’s routeing into Vitoria, its first time there, was a result of continuing pressure on slots at other Spanish airports, as scheduled carriers increase their operations in their efforts to return to normal.”