Sanctions Busting, SyrianAir acquires A340 passenger jet via Iran

SyrianAir can look back on a turbulent six years of operations serving a country thorn apart by Civil War. Heavily impacted by the implementation of sanctions against Syria in 2012, preventing the airline from buying new aircraft and forcing it to cease its flights to countries in the European Union, SyrianAir (officially known as Syrian Arab Airlines) has had to drastically scale back its operations. This marked the start of a slow degradation process that would see SyrianAir retiring ever more aircraft as spare parts became increasingly difficult to acquire.

Although some expected the acquisition of several types of Russian-produced aircraft such as the Tu-204 or even the Il-96 to replace SyrianAir’s Western fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, no such deliveries occurred. A sharp decrease in the operational availability of its Airbus fleet due to a lack of spare parts and maintenance checks, further exacerbated by a mid-air collision of an A320 with a Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) Mi-8/17 in 2012, meant that the airline’s aging Tu-134s were now increasingly utilised to replace some of the flights previously carried out by the A320s.

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