Thousands of spectators have lined up around Perth Airport to watch the world’s biggest plane touch down in Australia for the first time.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya – the only one of its type – was chartered by a resources company to transport a 117-tonne turbine for its operations in WA’s South West.

The best spot for the arrival was a temporary viewing area on Airport Drive, with an estimated 15,000 spectators lining up at the fence.

“The sheer size of the An-225 was breathtaking, with the click of camera shutters audible over the roar of the six engines as it taxied past,” Perth Airport spokeswoman Fiona Lander said.

“Never before has the An-225 made its way to Australia and the people of Perth made the most of its visit today.”

The Antonov will be in Perth for about 48 hours and will take up to 12 hours to unload.

The aircraft has 32 wheels, a wing span of 84.4 metres and a maximum take-off weight of 640 tonnes.