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Dublin: 20°C Sunday 26 September 2021

World's largest plane arrives in Shannon with Ireland's biggest delivery of PPE

The AN-255 arrived in Shannon with 800 pallets of PPE

Image: Arthur Ellis

ALMOST ONE MILLION surgical gowns have arrived in Shannon Airport on board the Antonov AN-225, the world’s largest aircraft. 

The plane touched down at 1.45pm this afternoon from China, after stopping in Baku earlier this morning.

The consignment of PPE is the largest ever ordered by Ireland with 900,000 gowns arriving today. A further 100,000 arrived on Monday on board a Boeing 747.

According to the HSE, this PPE will last 12.5 days under the current levels of demand, and will be distributed across the country to healthcare workers.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Shannon Airport operations director Niall Maloney said that it had been a difficult 10 weeks for the airport, but that staff had wanted to help respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We really wanted to play our part in the Covid pandemic response by being open for cargo aircraft,” he said. 

“For an airport like us, this really has been a struggle but we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel, and thankfully the resumption of passenger flights from 1 July really is the start of a long road to recovery”

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Due to its size, the plane is unable to land in any other airport in Ireland and can only use the 3km long runway in Shannon. 

With a wing span of 88 metres, the AN-225 is as wide as the Croke Park pitch, with a height of six stories. 

Designed in the 80s by the then-Soviet Union, the plane was used to transport the Buran spacecraft and weighs 640 tonnes. 

This is the fourth time the Antonov AN-225 has landed in Shannon Airport, with it previously landing in April 2015 to refuel.

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