Hundreds watched as world’s largest Plane Antonov leave Perth, spectators caused heavy traffic

Hundreds of spectators again flocked to the airport to watch the giant Ukrainian plane take off, but it left well before sunrise, making the spectacle far less visible than the Sunday morning landing.

The plane is now en route to Italy via Dubai with a 25-tonne rotor onboard.

Earlier, Main Roads warned motorists they could experience traffic delays around the terminal this morning.

One of the city’s major arterial roads — the Tonkin Highway — was backed up with heavy traffic in the lead-up to Sunday’s arrival, which was delayed by almost 2 hours.

The Antonov An-225 attracted about 20,000 people when it touched down on Sunday, delivering a 117-tonne turbine from the Czech Republic for a WA mining resources client in the South West.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built. It is 84 metres long and weighs 175 tonnes without fuel. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes, including crew, and its wingspan is an astonishing 88.4 metres.

On its first-ever journey to Australia, it delivered a power generator from the Czech Republic to be used at a state mine site.

About 20,000 people lined the fence at Perth Airport to catch a glimpse of the “king of the sky,” The West Australian reported.

The An-225 was built in the 1980s to transport the Soviet space shuttle, the Buran, and it made its maiden test flight on Dec. 21, 1988 at Sviatoshyn Airfield in Kyiv. The plane was commissioned by the Soviet Union, and built in what is present-day Ukraine.

The Mriya fell out of use after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It was officially grounded in April 1994 after 339 flights and 671 hours in the air. The Buran was carried on 14 of those flights totalling more than 25 hours.