The super-luxury Airbus A340-200 with registration number 5A-ONE, which once belonged to the assassinated Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Friday, June 4, 2021, at exactly 9:16 p.m.
This information was published by the Turkish portal Haberturk and stated that the Airbus A340-200 owned by the Libyan government in Tripoli was in the plant of the company EAS Industries (now Sabena Technics), in the town of Perpignan, in the south of France. On that occasion, the plane was converted from a super-luxury aircraft into a passenger plane,
The plane was sent from Libya to France in 2013 in order to avoid destruction in a police clash at the airport in Tripoli.
As it was announced, the former Gaddafi aircraft will stay in Turkey until additional maintenance and repair works are performed, after which the plane will be sent to Libya for public use.
The story of Gaddafi’s plane appeared at the end of February this year, when the famous CNN published an article about the fate of his luxurious flying palace and on that occasion discovered that this plane was repaired after damage during the shelling of the airport in Tripoli, but also changed color and he has now received the official Libyan flag. Although it was stated at the time that it was unknown to whom this aircraft really belongs, it seems that, since it landed in Istanbul, the plane belongs to the Libyan government in Tripoli.
The images, which surfaced after the capture of Tripoli International Airport on August 29, 2011, became one of the symbols of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime when rebel police seized Gaddafi’s Airbus A340-200 when it was damaged by bullets and shrapnel, but its inner luxury remained. intact.
Foreign journalists were soon invited to be shown the rich booty, and many world journalist teams were given the opportunity to peek into Gaddafi’s plane. Rare visitors accompanied by armed rebels could see that the plane had a whirlpool tub, a room with a private cinema, and a large bedroom lined with a mirror, as well as many other details of the luxury enjoyed by Gaddafi, who was still alive at the time. and in 2011 left Tripoli and went to his hometown of Sirte.
This Gaddafi plane was, as CNN describes it, his flying palace, which the rebels who conquered Tripoli did not know what to do, especially because various stories full of sins were tied to that plane.
The new authorities were considering moving the entire VIP interior from the aircraft and turning it into an ordinary passenger plane. The initiative came from neighboring Tunisia, where the plane of ousted Tunisian President Ben Ali was sold to Turkish Airlines. However, that was not the case with Gaddafi’s plane, but one thing was clear, the plane requires details of repairs and repairs, and its fate will be decided later.
Gaddafi’s Airbus A 340 was lucky, unlike other planes from Tripoli airport, which were destroyed or so damaged in the exchange of fire, first by the rebels and the remnants of Gaddafi’s army, and then by the mutual confrontation between the conflicting militias.
CNN adds that the plane suffered serious damage, so the journey of 900 miles from Libya to France had to be performed on a third of the normal flight altitude and with the landing gear pulled out because it was impossible to pull in the wheels due to the damage.
By the way, Gaddafi’s plane was transferred to France in the old color and on the fuselage with the number “9999”, which actually means the Declaration on the formation of the African Union, which was founded on September 9, 1999, hence the figure of four nines on the fuselage.
However, this number soon disappeared, and the national Libyan flag appeared on the horizontal tail. The aircraft was repaired in 2013 and ready to fly again. The story that the plane will be used for commercial use did not come true, and the then government kept the plane for its own use. The plane flew to Libya but returned to France in just a few months.
According to CNN, this plane was followed by lawsuits and controversies from the very beginning.
The first owner of this plane was Jeffrey Bolkiah, a playboy, and brother of the Sultan of Brunei. The aircraft was delivered to him in 1996, and the prince spent $ 250 million on its adaptation for it, before he sold it after four years of use when he quarreled with his family over the use of state funds.
The aircraft was sold to a Saudi businessman and member of the royal family, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire and businessman who cultivated a love for luxury aircraft (he ordered an Airbus A380 in 2007, a VIP version of the Airbus superjumbo, which was never made).
Jordanian Dad Sharab sued Saudi Prince Al-Waleed in a British court because he owed her money for mediation services in one business. Then the Airbus A340 reappeared on the market. He was bought in 2006 by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for 120 million dollars. The lawsuit ended in 2013 when a court in London ruled in favor of Jordanka and ordered the Saudi to pay her 10 million dollars in damages.
In the same year that Gaddafi bought his Airbus, the Libyan government signed an agreement with Al Kharafi Group, a consortium based in Kuwait, on the development of a coastal resort in Tajuri, near Tripoli. Shortly afterward, this agreement was annulled by the Libyan side in 2010.
The Kuwaiti consortium sued Libya before an international arbitration court in Cairo, which ruled in favor of this company and ordered the Libyan government to pay compensation of 930 million dollars. However, due to its complexity, this process continued and, as CNN writes, it is still taking place before several courts.
The Al Kharafi consortium also sued the Libyan state before a French court, so when the luxury A340 landed in France again in 2014, they demanded that the aircraft be seized. The court epilogue of this case ended in 2015 when a French court ruled that the aircraft, valued at $ 60 million, belongs to Libya and enjoys immunity while in France.
The Kuwaiti consortium appealed this verdict, and the whole case went into the labyrinth of the French judiciary. While the item got lost there, the costs of the plane’s stay in France were accumulating. By 2016, maintenance and repair fees had risen to almost 3 million euros, so Air France also became a party to the lawsuit, as the company demanded that its debts be paid. To make matters worse, the market value of this plane, when Gaddafi bought it for 120 million euros, began to fall sharply for this four-engine.
Despite its chaos and pandemic in 2020, it was noticed that the work of the aircraft was checked on the aircraft, which is not unusual when it comes to aircraft that have been standing in hangars for a long time.
What is the fate of Gaddafi’s plane is not known yet, and who will be its real owner, considering that the trials and the fight for ownership of the aircraft, whose value is falling every year, continue.