September 23 - Antonov's renewed AN-22 aircraft has flown a coil reel from Zurich, Switzerland to Abu Dhabi in the UAE for DB Schenker subsidiary Karpeles Flight Services on behalf of Hyundai.

Antonov's engineers designed a bespoke transport frame to move the 31.5-tonne coil reel, which measured 4.6 m x 3.5 m x 4.17 m, into the aircraft. En route to Abu Dhabi, the freighter made a refuelling stop in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Konstantin Lushakov, executive director of Antonov, explained that this was an important flight for the company as it marked the re-entry of the unique AN-22 Antei aircraft into the commercial market.

"Antonov Airlines is ready to perform new flights for the delivery of oversize and heavy cargoes around the world, proposing the logistics solutions to our customers worldwide on basis of the AN-124-100, the AN-225 and now the AN-22 Antei aircraft," he added.

HLPFI understands that the freighter returned to a state of airworthiness in June this year following a protracted period in storage.

At the time Antonov said it decided to resume AN-22 operations following strong interest in the type's capabilities from customers around the world. Equipped with four Kuznetsov NK-12MA powerplants each driving a pair of contra-rotating propellers, the AN-22 is the world's largest turboprop-powered aircraft. Originally designed for the Soviet military, it is capable of ferrying loads of 60 tonnes up to 5,000 km.