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How is the largest cargo aircraft in the world used?

How is the largest cargo aircraft in the world used?

Imagining the largest cargo aircraft in the world almost seems impossible. Even the regular iterations of these planes seem unimaginably huge, but it’s the Antonov An-225 that truly shatters expectations beyond comprehension. There’s only one that’s fully operational in the world, which should show how special it really is!

Moreover, it’s not only the worlds largest cargo aircraft, but it’s also the world’s largest aeroplane; full stop! With importance and capabilities as great as these, it must be used for some highly extraordinary tasks. But how is it used?

Well, let’s explore this line of enquiry further below.

Cargo transportation

As previously mentioned, the Antonov AN-225 is principally a cargo plane. This means it transports goods from point A to point B. However, because of its size and scale, the An-225 carries loads that other aeroplanes simply aren’t built to carry. After all, air travel is extremely sensitive to things like weight – but the AN-225 can carry an impressive 250 tons worth of weight.

Interestingly, charter company Chapman Freeborn recorded and coordinated the first ever use of the AN-225; a cargo transportation from Switzerland to Bahrain. Obviously, because of the special nature of this cargo plane, it does not enjoy as much varied or common usage as it’s perhaps more regular counterparts, who’re experiencing a greater boom in activity in recent years. It’s typically only brought out under special circumstances; i.e. a huge cargo to be transported! 

What cargo?

Of course, the plane doesn’t just ferry around any mundane and generic cargo that most planes do! No, initially, the AN-225 was built for a very specific and exciting purpose; to transport parts and components of the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet Union! Yes, it was built to facilitate the space race at a faster rate with its six powerful turbofan engines and 32 wheels to evenly distribute its weight.

Obviously, this level of use makes the plane not only important in usage, but historically significant too. People are endlessly researching its capabilities, and wondering about the possibilities of a second plane, which ultimately never finished its development. Consequently, the An-225 is certainly one of a kind – at least for now!

A tourist attraction

It’s far from being as cheap and tacky as it sounds, but because of the exceptional make and performance of the plane, something that’s been as magnificently crafted as the AN-225 is going to draw a few keen eyes. Visitors have traveled far and wide to catch a glimpse of the cargo plane in action, and most efforts end without a sighting due to the AN-225’s more exclusive nature in its usage.

Still, people do endeavor to witness the planes majesty for themselves and has historically been revered from when it was on display at the Paris Air Show in 1989, just a year from its first flight the year prior. There’s not quite a fledging industry built around it today due to its rare usage, but nevertheless, it is used as a tourist attraction in select periods of inactivity or pre-flight preparations. All it takes is one video to circulate the internet, and media buzz follows up soon after! Few planes (except for perhaps something like Air Force One) can influence that level of reaction, so doing so is undoubtedly an impressive feat!

Ultimately, the AN-225 has enjoyed a wide variety of media coverage and cargo transportation usage. It’s a cargo plane unlike any other and unrivalled in its capabilities, meaning it will stand the test of time for decades to come.

Descartes Announces Acquisition of CORE Transport Technologies for Air Cargo Support

Descartes Systems Group announced this week its acquisition of New-Zealand headquartered company CORE Transport Technologies for an up-front consideration of $21 million in addition to potential performance-based consideration. CORE’s customers – which include commercial airlines and ground handlers, utilize the company’s network to successfully track international mail, parcel and cargo shipments as well as US domestic mail and parcel shipments.

“As US domestic and international ecommerce continues to grow, more demands are being placed on carriers and their partners to deliver efficiently and report events in real-time,” said Ken Wood, EVP of Product Management at Descartes. “The CORE acquisition complements our recent investment in Velocity Mail, helping us to better serve the logistics service provider community working with postal authorities around the world. CORE’s solutions also extend beyond mail and parcel shipment tracking, with air cargo tracking solutions that we can add to our Global Logistics Network.”

CORE boasts ten years of providing global connections with trading partners and government postal authorities for its customers. By integrating automation and utilizing data analytics, CORE supports operational efficiencies and streamlined operations to support customers.

“We continue to look for opportunities to add customers, solutions and content to our Global Logistics Network to help our customers manage the lifecycle of shipments,” said Edward J. Ryan, Descartes’ CEO. “By combining with CORE, we’re strengthening our position in the growing domestic and global ecommerce market. We’re also adding new solutions to our Descartes Global Air Messaging Gateway that we believe will present a compelling opportunity for our global air cargo community to enhance real-time tracking and visibility of air shipments.”

Source: Descartes