Boeing steps in to help the manufacturer of the world’s biggest plane

  • Boeing has through a subsidiary carved out a deal to supply parts to the Ukrainian firm Antonov.
  • Antonov used to receive much of its parts from Russian suppliers.
  • The supply chain dried up in 2014 after Moscow annexed Crimea.

Boeing stepped in to rescue the Ukrainian plane maker Antonov, known for producing the world's largest aircraft.

The firm had ceased production because of its heavy reliance on Russian imports, which had collapsed after Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

But, Boeing's parts, equipment and services unit, Aviall, is set to now provide the components and Antonov plans to build eight aircraft a year from the end of next year. The deal, which was signed at the Farnborough International Airshow, was confirmed to CNBC via email on Friday.

President of Antonov, Oleksandr Donets, told Reuters in an interview that the next step is to build a storage facility with Aviall.

"This warehouse will deal with products, materials, metals, non-metals — with all components we are not able to get from our former partner, the Russian Federation," he said.

Donets added that the warehouse would be funded by the Boeing subsidiary.

Antonov builds a range of passenger, cargo and transport aircraft. The latest under development is the An-132, a twin-engined turboprop used for military transportation which is being jointly developed with Saudi Arabia.

Still the biggest

In 1988, Antonov completed what is still the world's largest "heavier than air" aircraft to be used as part of the Soviet space shuttle program.

The world's largest aircraft, the Ukraine-built Antonov An-225 Mriya, touches down at Perth Airport on May 15, 2016.  
 The six-engine aircraft, built to transport the Soviet space shuttle the Buran, is now used for cargo no other plane can handle and on this flight to Perth it has carried a large generator purchased by a Western Australian resources company,  AFP PHOTO / GREG WOOD / AFP / Greg Wood        (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
GREG WOOD | AFP | Getty Images
The world's largest aircraft, the Ukraine-built Antonov An-225 Mriya, touches down at Perth Airport on May 15, 2016. The six-engine aircraft, built to transport the Soviet space shuttle the Buran, is now used for cargo no other plane can handle and on this flight to Perth it has carried a large generator purchased by a Western Australian resources company, AFP PHOTO / GREG WOOD / AFP / Greg Wood (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

The An-225 Mriya is powered by six turbofan engines and is also the heaviest aircraft ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tons. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service.

It was the only example ever completed as Russia's economy struggled badly through the 1990s, forcing the end of the country's attempts to fly a manned space shuttle.