Even Amid War, Syrian Air Welcomes New Airbus
The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing for over 6 years now. The Syrian Civil War has internally displaced over 7 million individuals since it began in 2011. In addition to 7 million displaced, over 450,000 have been killed. It’s unbelievably complicated and will take decades to really understand.
Last week, the United States re-entered the war when President Trump ordered air strikes against the Assad regime after the regime gassed hundreds in a rebel-controlled town. The air strikes are just part of the United States’ on-going efforts to remove Assad from power and restore power to the Syrian people.
For years, the United States has had sanctions against Syria. These sanctions restrict trade and business between the United States and Syria. Additionally, most European countries have also placed sanctions on the Syrian government. One of Syria’s last remaining trade partner is Russia. Of course, Syria and Russia’s partnership has led to conflict between the West and Russia.
Because of the sanctions against the Syrian government and the overall chaotic state or the Syrian economy, air travel has been virtually non-existent for a decade.
Syria’s only airline, Syrian Air formerly known as Syrian Arab Airlines, is owned entirely by the Syrian government. Syrian Air operates a very small fleet and serves a handful of destinations throughout the Middle East and Africa. Syrian Air has been limited, not only by the gruesome civil war but also by it’s aging fleet and sanctions. The airline has been unable to replace aircraft and expand its network due to these sanctions. However, it appears that Syrian Air, even amid the civil war, is making an attempt to grow its network.
Syrian Air Acquires Airbus a340
Syrian Air is unable to lease aircraft from the United States and the European Union. The majority of the world’s commercial aircraft are not only produced in the US and EU but also leased by firms in those two regions. It’s because of the sanctions against Syrian Air that the airline has been virtually unable to acquire any new or used aircraft other than aging Russian aircraft and old Western aircraft from Iran.
According to FlightGlobal, Syrian Air managed to get passed these sanctions and recently acquired an Airbus a340-300.
Syrian Air’s Airbus a340-300 bears the registration YK-AZA. The a340 is 16 years old and has flown for a variety or airlines. YK-AZA first flew with Cathay Pacific where it was then transferred to SriLankan Airlines. Recently, the aircraft was transferred to a leasing company in Kazakhstan where it was then transferred to Chad. From there, it appears that Syrian Air leased the aircraft from the African nation of Chad. This is all according to information gathered by FlightGlobal.
By leasing the aircraft from a company in Chad or Kazakhstan, Syrian Air would have been able to bypass the sanctions against the airline.
Syria is in Ruins, Why Does Syrian Air Need to Expand?
This is what I don’t understand. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands killed. The Syrian economy is in ruins and there remain very few regions in the country that are stable.
With an economy that’s virtually non-existent, why would Syrian Air expand its route network? I can’t answer that. Syrian Air’s decision to acquire an Airbus a340-300, an aircraft that can fly 295 passengers over 6,000 miles, baffles me.
Regardless why they acquired the aircraft, the aircraft is flying regularly between Damascus and Dubai. According to FlightGlobal, SyrianAir is eyeing flights to Asia. YK-AZA features both business class and economy class.
This is a very strange development. I can’t imagine there’s much demand from any country, except maybe Russia or Iran, to facilitate flights to Syria. The Airbus a340-300 holds nearly 300 passengers and can fly over six thousands miles. Syrian Air’s decision to acquire such a large and advanced aircraft seems unnecessary, to say the least.
What do you think about Syrian Air’s new Airbus a340-300?
Syria has many expatriates who live and work in the gulf countries as well as Africa, in particular. They continue to return to Syria to visit with family and friends. Damascus is a city of about five million that is virtually untouched by the war. Although there is much devastation in parts of the country, there remains a significant population that remains in Syria and a large, vibrant and affluent emigrant population that continues to have travel needs. One need not look further than Syria’s neighbour, Lebanon, that survived a gruesome 16 year civil war that left little of the… Read more »
I think it’s because this was the only option they could find. Prior to the civil war Syrianair had a fleet of 5 or 6 Airbus A320’s but most of them are grounded now due to needed maintainance and lack of parts.
[…] (To use the language of Turkish conspiracy-theorising…) Curiously, a subsequent report by Max Prosperi at TravelUpdate included a photograph of ‘Syrian Air’s Airbus a340’ on its inaugural route from Damascus to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 13th April 2017. It credited one accompanying image to the airline and the other to Gokhan Sarigol. […]