Sunday, December 17, 2006

When you feel the heat you've got to move your fleet

An interesting couple of mystery-jet stories - last week saw an aircraft using a Flying Dolphin/Dolphin Air callsign (ICAO: FDN), the company in Sharjah that took over the assets of Viktor Bout's Santa Cruz Imperial and that continues to deal with Phoenix Aviation, pass through Dubai en route to Baghdad. Not that unusual, but interestingly it was bound for Al-Muthanna, the old airfield next to the Green Zone, not Baghdad International Airport (or SDA for Saddam Airport, as it's still known by ICAO). You might well wonder who was aboard.

The week before, Kyrgyz-registry/Sharjah-based outfit Tenir Airlines - ICAO TEB - who fly regularly between the UAE and Iraq did something interesting. They sent one of their Il-76s from Sharjah to Baghdad International and from there on to Kabul. Now there's a trip. Tenir, according to, has three Il-76s, all from Moldovan operator Airline Transport Incorporation. This company, which was suddenly wound up in 2005, had a sizeable fleet of Ilyushins, which were transferred to companies including Click Airways (a regular on the Sharjah-Baghdad run), Jet Line International, and Tenir. The association with JLI went pretty deep - when their aircraft ER-IBR crashed into Lake Victoria on the 23rd of March, 2005, it was operating with Jet Line's documents, or possibly the other way around. ATI's planes sometimes used the callsign "Air Trans", a company that doesn't exist but has often cropped up being used by Viktor Bout's planes, and they also traded aircraft with Aerocom (and Jet Line). Two of the three Il-76s owned by Tenir have been reported under this designation.

Those are EX-065 (serial number 53460832) and EX-071 (43452546). The other is EX-075 (53463908).

In other news: Firedump-listed 727 UN-B2701 photographed in Nizhni Novgorod on the 26th of November. Something tells me that one is safe.

Update, 03/01/2007: Now we know how UN-B7201 got to Budapest, anyway. Carrying a Kazakh football team, apparently.

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