I've recently been experimenting with various ways of automatically gathering information about Viktor Bout's airlines; you've probably noticed the resumption of Pathetic Python Blogging. Anyway, though the project is far from ready, enough of it
now works to produce some useful results. For example, who the hell are "Asia Airways", who regularly fly between Sharjah and destinations in Iraq and Afghanistan - using the ICAO code ASW, which is actually the well-known US lowcost carrier Southwest Airlines? (Southwest might want to know, as if someone else is using their call sign they could find themselves paying the air traffic control charges.)
Another is the surprisingly large number of aircraft that frequent SHJ without stating where they come from or where they are going; filtering this morning's output for "route=='Unknown'" gives you a list of some 10 arrivals. Some five of which
were due to malformed data messing with my script, but the rest are correct. And the rest includes companies like Flying Dolphin (ICAO: FDN), a very longstanding Viktor Bout operation indeed and one that ought not to exist, South Airlines of the Ukraine,
a regular on the Baghdad run, and something called "Maximus Air Cargo", apparently a division of the UAE Ministry of Defence.
There's also a lot of fairly foul operators like Avient, Click (both versions), and our old friends British Gulf International. You may recall that this company had supposedly been set up in Sao Tome, before transferring to the Kyrgyz registry; a new firm was formed with the old facilities, staff and aircraft. But, we learned from a contact there, the Sao Tome firm had never existed as a company. Fascinatingly, despite this, it's back; the old BGK code has vanished and been replaced by the new one, BGI, for "British Gulf International Company" rather than "British Gulf International Airlines"
And the EX-registered Antonov 12s have all followed it back into the Sao Tome registry. Curious.
S9-SAJ An-12TB 401901 British Gulf Int'l AL ex EX-160 @ British Gulf Int'l AL
S9-SAM An-12BP 3341408 British Gulf Int'l AL ex EX-162 @ British Gulf Int'l AL
S9-SAO An-12BP 346908 British Gulf Int'l AL ex EX-165 @ British Gulf Int'l
S9-SAP An-12BP 5343305 British Gulf Int'l AL ex EX-161 @ British Gulf Int'l AL
S9-SAV An-12BP 2340602 British Gulf Int'l AL ex EX-045 @ British Gulf Int'l AL
S9- An-12V 1347704 British Gulf Int'l AL ex EX-163 @ British Gulf S9-SAH ?
S9- An-12V 5343703 British Gulf Int'l AL ex EX-164 @ British Gulf Int'l AL