China to restart production of the world’s biggest airplane

China to relaunch production of world's biggest plane

China has signed an agreement with a Ukrainian firm to restart manufacture of the AN-225, the world's largest airplane.

The AN-225 measures 84 meters in length and can carry a world record payload of 225 tons. Only one was ever built and it was used to carry the Soviet Union version of the Space Shuttle on its back.

Antonov, the Ukrainian firm that built the original AN-255, announced last week that it had entered a pact with the Aerospace Industry Corporation of China to finish building an AN-225 which has sat half-built inside a Ukrainian aircraft hangar for more than 20 years.

"The parties expressed their intentions as for long−term cooperation," Antonov said in a statement.

The Anatov statement said that once the plane is delivered, there will be a joint series production of further AN-225 planes, but this time manufactured in China.

Peter Singer, a strategist at policy think tank New America, said in a blog post Wednesday that completing the aircraft will cost $300 million with China set to foot most of the bill.

Stringer also claimed the plane could be in the skies by 2019 with new Chinese built ones taking off from the mid 2020's.