AN-124-100 airplanes of Antonov Company’s airlift subdivision known as Antonov Airlines performs flights to carry cargoes necessary to fight the coronavirus from China to European countries. Medical personal protective equipment including facemasks, surgical gloves and protective suits, disinfectants, medications and reagents for laboratory testing are delivered. Currently, 5 AN-124 “Ruslan” are involved in these operations. They are met by government officials. The local mass media called these Ukrainian aircraft as “superstars”.
During the last four days, vital cargoes were delivered to Athens, Greece, – 80 ton, Zaragoza, Spain. – 74 ton, Porto, Portugal, – 83 ton; Pardubice, Czech Republic. The necessary measures were put in place to ensure the safety of the crews during the operations. Production facilities of Antonov Company also joined the fight against COVID-19. An average of about 300 six-layer, reusable masks are maden daily to meet the needs of the enterprise, in particular for members of Antonov Airlines’ flight and technical crews. 11 oxygen systems installed in the 5th hospital of Kyiv were restored.
The Antonov An-124 Ruslan (NATO reporting name: Condor) is a strategic airlift quadjet. It was designed in the 1980s by the Antonov design bureau in the Ukrainian SSR, then part of the Soviet Union (USSR). Until the Boeing 747-8F, the An-124 was, for thirty years, the world’s heaviest gross weight production cargo airplane and second heaviest operating cargo aircraft, behind the one-off Antonov An-225 Mriya (a greatly enlarged design based on the An-124). The An-124 remains the largest military transport aircraft in current service. The lead designer of the An-124 (and the An-225) was Viktor Tolmachev.