Röhlig Logistics charters world's largest cargo aircraft to fly 3.5 million SARS-Cov-2 antigen tests to Leipzig


Röhlig Logistics ended November on a high with a charter shipment carrying 3.5 million SARS-Cov-2 rapid antigen tests. With a single test pack weighing in at a few hundred grams, the 507 pallets transported on this flight amounted to almost 82 tonnes!

The charter aircraft, an Antonov-225-Mriya, arrived at Leipzig/Halle Airport in the early morning of 29 November 2021. The teams at Röhlig China and Germany were also on hand to ensure everything ran smoothly for our German client.


A trade route with limited freight capacity


Demand between Asia and Europe remains high at a time when scarce transport capacities have been further restricted since the pandemic. Not only is there a lack of empty containers with many ports overloaded, rail traffic between Asia and Europe also continues to experience delays, for example due to border controls. In addition, passenger air traffic is still severely restricted in select areas due to the pandemic, causing a reduction in freight volumes on passenger aircraft.

As a result, many companies encounter difficulties transporting their goods to and from Asia. Meanwhile, storage capacity becomes increasingly scarce.

When an individual customer solution is required 


Georg Hauser, Trade Lane Manager Greater China at Röhlig Germany, explains: "Our customer was challenged with transporting a particularly large volume of freight reliably and quickly from Asia to Europe. We had already handled various orders for them earlier this year and so our air freight experts were able to quickly offer an individual and reliable solution thanks to their expertise and our global network." 

Charter flights via cargo or passenger aircraft get your ad-hoc shipments to their destination on time and reliably, without detours.

Our global network allows us to deliver goods quickly to almost anywhere in the world. 

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The urgently anticipated arirval of SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen tests in Leipzig


The 3 million SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen tests totalled a considerable freight volume of 767 cbm, which needed to be transported within the shortest possible time. A charter solution therefore offered the space to transport all the goods quickly within one flight.

The Röhlig teams in China and Germany benefit from a global network and strong relationships with partners and carriers. They were therefore able to specially charter the Antonov-225 for the client and handled the delivery and palletising of the total 507 pallets.

On 28 November, the giant charter took off from Tianjin, China, landing in Leipzig on 29 November at 05:53 local time. Despite the early morning hour, some aircraft enthusiasts came close to the airport to watch the landing of the world's largest cargo aircraft.

The Röhlig team welcomes the Antonov-225 Mriya in Leipzig.

For us, organising charter flights is a well-rehearsed process and an integral part of our airfreight team, but chartering the largest cargo aircraft in the world is and remains something very special for us, too. Georg Hausner, Trade Lane Manager Greater China at Röhlig Germany.

The Antonov 225 - the giant among cargo aircraft


As the enthusiasm of both our employees and the onlookers surrounding the Antonov-225 shows, the Ukrainian-manufactured aircraft is truly something special. With an overall length of 84 metres and a wingspan of 88 metres, it is the largest of all aircraft in service. Unladen, it already weighs 285,000 kilograms.

Moreover, the Antonov-225 is truly unique, with the manufacturer building only one of its kind in 1988. Its maiden flight was completed in the same year. During its early years, the enourmous aircraft set several records, including the highest flying weight at 506.8 tonnes.

In April 1994, the aircraft was taken out of service before being reintroduced in 2001. Most recently, the Antonov-225 underwent a general overhaul in 2019 and 2020. It has been in service since April 2020, primarily to offer its services during the pandemic. In that time it has carried tons of SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests as well as medical material such as masks and medicines all over the world.

Leipzig/Halle Airport – A central hub during the pandemic


Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ) is one of the airports most frequently served by the Antonov-225, worldwide. The Röhlig team was pleased to oversee the 30th landing of this unique aircraft at LEJ, the second largest air cargo hub in Germany. Since the pandemic, the airport has played a central role as a transshipment point for medical goods, and many important logistics and supply chains throughout Europe start from here. In recent months, 100 cargo charter flights carrying millions of corona tests have been handled at LEJ. 

We are #eagerformore


Our Röhlig charter teams prove that #eagerformore is not just a meaningless corporate value. Further charter flights with large and well-known aircraft types are scheduled to take off and land at Leipzig/Halle and other locations over the coming weeks, so stay tuned at rohlig.com for more information or follow us on LinkedIn!


Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Röhlig has already been providing support with rapid solutions for medical supplies:

  • 35 million disposable masks
  • 135 million SARS-CoV2 antigen rapid test kits
  • 10 million FFP2 masks
  • 1 million microporous coveralls

Our Röhlig teams in Germany, China and the rest of the world will organise a charter flight for you.

Write us and we will find an individual charter solution for your needs.

Antonov-225-Mriya arrives in Leipzig/Halle to deliver 3,5 million SARS-Cov-2 antigen tests

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