Friday, August 13, 2004

Bout vs Farah

Doug Farah has an interesting new post on Viktor Bout and Jetline International. Apparently an aircraft registered 9L-LEC was leased by Jetline to something called Skylink and used in Iraq. Mr. Farah requests info on Jetline. He shall have it. Skylink may be a a Russian company, Skylink Express, listed as operating between 1994 and 2001. Its fleet consisted of two Il76 and an An12BP, which also saw service with more than one Boutco. 9L-LEC is listed by as being an An12, not as given by Farah an Ilyushin, manufacturer's serial number 4341803, active with a "private operator in Sierra Leone" but with a note to the effect that Skylink are the owners. It was formerly owned by another privateer in Kazakhstan, and interestingly by a company called Trans Air Congo. (Farah's source states the aircraft is currently in the DRC.) Before this period, little information is available.

This leaves problems. 4341803 is with a "private operator", but perhaps Skylink? Is this the right Skylink? Careful examination reveals that Skylink's "official" An12, MSN 1347909, has passed through a variety of highly dodgy operators including known Boutcos like Space Cargo and GST Aero Aircompany. It is currently leased to "Afrique Cargo Services" of Senegal. Was Skylink keeping 4341803 off the books, or was it operating under a false identity?

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