Ukraine seeks Chinese money to build world's biggest aircraft

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KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine hopes to attract $500 million of investment from China to complete an updated version of the world’s biggest aircraft, the Antonov-225 Mriya, the president of manufacturer Antonov said on Wednesday.

The Antonov-225 is a cargo plane designed as part of the former Soviet Union’s space programme. The only one completed is still in use and can carry up to 250 tonnes up to 4,000 km (2,485 miles).

Work to manufacture a second plane was started in 1988 and never completed, but Antonov has now found a potential investor in the Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC).

Antonov President Oleksandr Kotsiuba said it could take around five years to complete the aircraft once a contract between the two sides is signed.

The two companies signed a cooperation agreement in August under which Antonov planes could be manufactured jointly in China.

“The second copy of Mriya will be completed here, in Kiev, and could cost up to $500 million depending on the equipment installed,” Kotsiuba told Reuters.

He said future cooperation with the Chinese company would depend on the successful completion of the plane.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Matthias Williams and Jason Neely