8 Largest Cargo Planes In The World

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates, air freight contributes to nearly 6 trillion dollars’ worth of global commerce.

Large fleets of cargo aircraft that fly over our skies regularly are the only way this is even conceivable. These feats of engineering are intended to move a wide variety of items from one point to another.

The list of the largest cargo planes in the world is a true adventure. Not only are they big, but they also allow you to move more material per flight than any other type of aircraft.

Even though most of these aircraft are intended for transporting big commercial goods, some freighters are also used for military objectives. About 140,000 tons and 20 million parcels of air freight are transported throughout the globe in just one single day.

But which of these planes is the largest among these freighters? So, let’s look at the 15 aircraft that currently holds the record for the most cargo space in the world! 

  1. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III

Aircraft Length: 53 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 262,352 kilograms
Range: 4,444 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 914 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.74)
Year Introduced: 1991

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III  Source: Unsplash

The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was developed in collaboration with the McDonnell Douglas Corporation to provide transportation for military goods and personnel for the United States Air Force.

The greatest weight that the C-17 Globemaster III can carry into the air is 265,352 kg. It has a maximum payload capacity of 77,519 kg and a cargo hold that is 583 cubic meters in volume. Because of this, it can perform very well as a military air lifter.

Did You Know?

The first flight of a C-17 Globemaster III took place in 1991. It is recognized to this day as one of the most strategic military transport aircraft used by the United States Air Force, with a total of 279 constructed over the previous several decades.

  1. Boeing 777F

Aircraft Length: 63.73 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 347,452 kilograms
Range: 9,038 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 1037.23 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.84)
Year Introduced: 2009

Boeing 777F  Source: Wikimedia

The Boeing 777F is the freighter variant of the 777-200LR. It shares many characteristics with its sibling, including the fuselage, total length, and wing span.

The maximum take-off weight of 347,452 kg contributes to the widespread adoption of Boeing’s biggest twin-engine freighter. It has the capability of transporting freight weighing up to 103,000 kg.

This freighter has a length of 63.73 meters, and its wingspan is 64.80 meters. Because it is built on the long-range variant of the 777, it has a maximum range of 9,038 kilometers when fully loaded, making it an excellent medium and long-haul freighter.

Did You Know?

Even though the first 777F was delivered in 2009, it continues to be a popular choice for commercial cargo freighters.

  1. Boeing Dreamlifter

Aircraft Length: 71.68 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 364,235 kilograms
Range: 7,800 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 1012.54 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.82)
Year Introduced: 2007

Boeing Dreamlifter  Source: Pixabay

The 747-400, known as the “queen of the sky,” was the basis for the Boeing Dreamlifter, which debuted in 2007 and is a modified version of that aircraft.

Four aircraft are now in operation, carrying Boeing components like fuselages between different manufacturing facilities. These planes were manufactured in a total of four.

It can carry a payload of 113,400 kg and accommodate goods with a volume of 1,840 cubic meters.

Its major function is to transport airplane components for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner to the different assembly factories around the company’s global network.

Did You Know?

As a result of the Dreamliner’s swing tail door and its ability to lift its nose, transporting other commercial Boeing fuselages in the aircraft has become a straightforward process.

  1. Antonov An-124 Ruslan

Aircraft Length: 69.1 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 402,000 kilograms
Range: 1,500 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 865 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.7)
Year Introduced: 1986

Antonov An-124 Ruslan  Source: Wikimedia

The Antonov An-124 Ruslan was shown to the public for the first time in 1986 and was developed in the Soviet Union. The length of the freight aircraft is 69.1 meters, and its wingspan is 73.3 meters. Its cruising speed is 865 kilometers per hour.

Because it has a maximum takeoff weight of 402,000 kg, the Antonov An-124 is included on this list. It can carry a payload that is up to 150,000 kilograms in weight. There is room for a maximum of six crew members on board.

Did You Know?

Between 1986 and 2004, a total of 55 models were produced. This aircraft is used in the modern day as a commercial freighter, and as of 2019, there are 26 of them in operation.

  1. Boeing 747-400ERF

Aircraft Length: 70.66 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 412,769 kilograms
Range: 9,230 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 922 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.85)
Year Introduced: 2002

Boeing 747-400ERF  Source: Pixabay

A further big freighter manufactured by Boeing, the Boeing 747-400ERF is a member of the 747-400 series. Extended Range Freighter is the abbreviation for the 747-400ERF, which went into service in 2002. Air France was the company that received the first of these aircraft.

The greatest weight that can be carried into flight by a Boeing 747-400ERF is 412,769 kg. Because of this, it is considered one of the world’s biggest freight aircraft. There is room for up to two people on the crew, and it has a maximum payload capacity of 124,012 kg.

It measures 70.66 meters in length and has a wing span of 64.44 meters. The maximum cruise speed of the 747-400ERF is 0.845 Mach, comparable to 922 kilometers per hour.

Did You Know?

It is powered by either four PW4000 engines or four GE CF6 engines, with a range of 9,230 kilometers. Today, several commercial airlines, like KLM and Air France, employ this aircraft for their cargo operations, making it a familiar sight in the sky.

  1. Lockheed C-5 Galaxy

Aircraft Length: 75.31 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 417,305 kilograms
Range: 11,705 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 869 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.7)
Year Introduced: 1968

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy  Source: Wikimedia

The United States Air Force operates the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, which entered service in 1968 and was built by the company. The company only produced a total of 131 of these airplanes.

The maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is 417,305 kg. The amount of space available in its cargo hold is 880 cubic meters. It can transport cargo weighing up to 127,459 kg and has room for a crew of up to seven people.

It measures 75.31 meters in length, which is somewhat shorter than the Boeing 747-8F, and four powerful General Electric TF39 engines power it. This concept has proved used in several significant wars, including Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and it is still in use today.

Did You Know?

Because of its great range of 11,705 kilometers, the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is an excellent choice for a cargo aircraft employed for military missions.

  1. Boeing 747-8F

Aircraft Length: 76.3 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 447,700 kilograms
Range: 7,630 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 914 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.74)
Year Introduced: 2010

Boeing 747-8F  Source: Wikimedia

The Boeing 747-8F was initially put into service in 2010 and was designed and manufactured in the United States. It is a member of the 747-8 line, of which Boeing has manufactured 141 during the series’ history.

The Boeing 747-8F is one of the biggest freight aircraft currently in existence. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 447,700 kilograms (kg), making it one of the largest in the world.

It has a cargo hold equal to 858 cubic meters in volume. It has a maximum cargo capacity of 132,600 kg and can accommodate a crew of two persons.

This monstrous creature is a whopping 76.3 meters long, and its wing spread is 68.4 meters. The Boeing 747-8F is popular among commercial airlines for transporting cargo on charter and regularly scheduled routes.

Did You Know?

Since it enables nose loading and carries a significant amount of cargo, this freighter aircraft, which is propelled by the General Electric GEnx turbofans, is one of the most widely used commercial freighters in operation.

  1. Antonov An-225 Mriya

Aircraft Length: 84 meters
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 640,000 kilograms
Range: 15,400 kilometers
Cruising Speed: 800 kilometers per hour (Mach 0.65)
Year Introduced: 1985

Antonov An-225 Mriya  Source: Pixabay

The Antonov An-225 Mriya, which first flew commercially in 1988, is the largest cargo plane in the world. It was created in the Soviet Union. Only one of these airplanes was ever manufactured, the same one used today.

It is the heaviest plane that has ever been manufactured and has the greatest wingspan of any currently used aircraft. The Antonov An-225, which has a range of 15,400 kilometers, is often hired to transport enormous and complex cargo.

The astounding maximum takeoff weight of the Antonov An-225 is 640,000 kg, powered by six Progress D-18T turbofans. Its cargo hold has a volume of 1,300 cubic meters and can transport weights of up to 250,000 kg.

Did You Know?

To sustain the aircraft’s enormous weight, the landing gear of the Antonov An-225 consists of a total of 32 wheels. Additionally, at 84 meters in length, it is the longest aircraft in service.


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