World’s largest plane lands in Mactan

By: Bjorn Abraham Tabanera November 12,2013 - 10:02 PM

THE world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov 225, yesterday landed in Mactan Cebu International Airport loaded with a 150-ton transformer for a private power plant in Batangas City.

With its 640 ton weight, 32-wheel landing gear and a wingspan of 88 meters, the giant plane dwarfed a Cebu Pacific Airbus jet that taxied nearby.

Yesterday marked the first time an AN225 landed in the Philippines. Its 150-ton load was also considered the heaviest cargo to be loaded into an airplane in one piece and flown to the Philippines.

MCIA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete admitted he was initially hesitant to have the aircraft land in Mactan.

“At first I felt that there were technical and safety issues that needed to be resolved,” he said.

But an agreement was reached after several negotiations and the visit of AN225 pilot Demetri Antonov to Cebu in October this year.

“There were no compromises,” said Villarete.

AN225, which is capable of carrying up to 250 tons, delivered a replacement transformer from Croatia for the Lopez-controlled FGP Corp., a subsidiary of First Gen Corp., for its San Lorenzo natural gas-fired power plant in Batangas City.

The power plant is a critical asset to the Luzon electrical grid.

FGP’s previous transformer caught fire last May, resulting in the loss of 250MW or about half of San Lorenzo’s 500 MW supply of electricity to the Luzon grid.

Francis Giles B. Puno, FGP president and COO, who witnessed the plane’s arrival, said that instead of having the transformer repaired abroad and shipping it twice, acquiring a brand new one was the better option.

Asked the value of the replacement transformer, Giles estimated that FGP spent “close to $7,000,000”.

Antonov, the pilot from Croatia, however, said the transportation cost was even more than the new transformer itself, which was manufactured in four months by Siemens Koncar, instead of the usual 12 months.

An international team helped speed up delivery of the transformer, which had to be transported from Mactan and then shipped to the plant site in Batangas city.

Other airports were considered as an entry point, but “Mactan Cebu was the most viable,” said Assistant Vice President Estela de la Paz of First Gas Pipeline Corporation (FGP Corp.).

A road trip to Batangas from another airport would have been difficult since bridges aren’t built to carry a 150-ton cargo, she said.

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: aircraft, Antonov 225, Mactan Cebu International Airport

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.