When the AN-225 came to Perth, Australia in May 2016 she attracted a crowd of 35,000 to the airport and caused traffic chaos with many people missing flights because they couldn’t get to the terminals.
The AN-225, which has been destroyed overnight in Ukraine, was chartered to deliver a 117-tonne power generator for South32’s Worsley alumina plant near Collie, south of Perth.
The six-engine AN-225 was a cult aircraft and wherever she flew in the world tens of thousands of admirers would turn up to marvel at the giant.
The king of the sky was in Perth for just 42 hours but it captivated Perth and set online and social media records for videos viewed across the Seven West Media network.
The coverage of the AN-225’s first and only visit to Australia spanned the globe.
A report on Seven News on the Sunday it arrived had more than 2.3 million views on Facebook, more than four times the station’s previous record.
Views of videos on thewest.com.au smashed the site’s Sunday record fivefold.
Over the two days the AN-225 was here there were 390,000 video views on thewest.com.au as well as 370,000 page views for the coverage and 75,000 views on Facebook.
The total reach for Seven West videos was 13.5m views.
Seven News on the Sunday night was the highest rating for the year, while the search term “An-225 Perth” was the highest on Google Australia-wide on that Sunday.
And despite leaving at 5 am on Tuesday, May 17, 2026, several thousand were at the airport to see the An-225 for the last time before it headed back to Ukraine.
Antonov Airlines was established in 1989 and had a fleet of 13 cargo aircraft including the AN225, and its smaller brother the AN-124 which is a regular visitor to Perth.
The AN-225 was built originally to carry the Russian space shuttle the Buran but for decades has been used to transport outsized and heavy cargo.
There was a second AN-225 partially built but its fate is unknown.