LONDON – Upon a visit by Virgin’s Richard Branson, the owner of the company has expressed interest in supporting the restoration of Hostomel Airport, home of the AN-225 Mriya.
Initial reports stated that Branson was interested in helping restore the Antonov AN-225 Mriya that has been destroyed during the Ukraine Crisis, but it’s just the airport at this stage.
This is definitely a step in the right direction of good news, especially with the airport badly affecting Antonov’s operations out of Kyiv.
Antonov Moving Elsewhere For Now…
Back in May, Antonov announced intentions to move its operations from Gostomel, Ukraine to Leipzig, Germany.
This comes off the back of five of its AN-124s already operating out of the airport, which would make sense in why this is happening.
According to Airways Magazine, Antonov is expected to commence around 385 flights over the next 12 months, highlighting the high demand needed for their aircraft.
It does appear that for now, it is indeed goodbye Gostomel, following the airfield being majorly damaged during the Ukraine conflict.
This all started off when the base was seized by Russian paratroopers, causing Antonov employees to evacuate the surrounding areas in order to avoid death.
Maybe there will be a day when Antonov returns to Gostomel, but obviously, it just isn’t doable nor sustainable to do so on a safety level.
Would Branson Help with the Mriya Restoration?
At this stage, it is pretty unclear whether Branson would go further than his vocal commitment to Hostomel Airport. But it is something that would be up his street.
Being known as one of the patrons in the restoration of the Mriya would be a different business venture for him to take. Could this include Branson taking a stake in Antonov Airlines if he was to do this?
It would be an incredible feat, especially with backing from Branson representing a significant financial incentive moving forward.
But for now, it does seem to be a one-step-at-a-time perspective. Start with the airport, and then maybe the Mriya later? Who knows?
Branson has also known to be the charitable type, and with his profound love for aviation and all things flying, this would make sense that he is visiting Hostomel to scope out where charitable investment could be made.
It remains clear that this visit from Branson is pretty serious, especially when it comes to his investment adventures as well. Restoring Hostomel Airport would produce a massive favor for the likes of Antonov.
Whether he will restore the Mriya of course, is another story, and will probably be something for him to think about later down the line.
Even so, this is an exciting and positive development for the airport, and could definitely help with the alleviation of the financial downturn it has experienced as a result of the Ukraine Crisis.