BIG UNIT: One of world's largest planes touches down

Antonov AN-124 Condor in Cairns
Antonov AN-124 Condor in Cairns Darren Howie

ONE of the world's largest planes will be stationed at the Cairns Airport for the next few days.

The Ukrainian aircraft, which flew in from Nanjing, the capital of China's eastern Jiangsu province, arrived with 5.6t of mining equipment at 5.30pm on Sunday.

Commercial pilot Darren Howie, who lives in Brinsmead, captured photos of the aircraft and said it was a "very rare visitor".

"She is a big unit," he said.

"You might get one of these coming to Australia no more than four times a year and normally they go to Melbourne."

The Antonov AN-124, which costs between $US70 to 100 million, was carrying a slew bearing destined for a mine in Central Queensland

 A seven-ton French Puma helicopter is unloaded from the cargo transporter
A seven-ton French Puma helicopter is unloaded from the cargo transporter "Antonov 124" in Macedonia in 1998. The plane carried four of the choppers plus a Peugeot-4 car. AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski

The last time the aircraft was in Australia was in Perth in February last year

NSW-based freight company Navia logistics organised the shipment, which will receive a police escort to the site.

The company's chief commercial officer Jamal Kamj said it was the first time they used the aircraft.

"It is a pretty big deal," he said.

"You might not see it for it for a few years, then you will see it twice in two years."

The plane is expected to be there until Friday.

Topics:  aviation plane

News Corp Australia

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