Russian forces attack Antonov Airport

Antonov Airport, the home base of seven An-124s and a repository of spare parts, has been under siege since Feb. 24. Russian forces have destroyed buildings, airplane hangers, and some aircraft. Although Antonov Airlines managed to move five of its An-124s ahead of the Russian invasion—and airlift a shipment of spare parts to France—at least two remain stuck on the ground at Antonov Airport.

Russian forces also destroyed the world’s one and only An-225, a larger cousin to the An-124. Originally designed to transport Soviet space station components, it was the largest cargo plane ever built. Ukrainian officials estimate it will cost over $3 billion to rebuild the flagship jet.

Russia sanctions and airspace closures complicate air freight

The supply chain impacts of the Russian invasion go beyond An-124s. The EU and Canada have closed their airspace to Russian planes, reducing the already limited fleet of cargo planes available to carry freight into Europe and North America. Meanwhile, many cargo airlines are avoiding flying over Russia and Ukraine, which adds time and fuel costs to cargo flights between Asia and Europe.

The disruptions are yet another factor driving up the cost of air freight, which in turn pushes up the prices of every good that gets transported by air.

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