Czech Air Force retires Yak-40 fleet

The Czech Air Force held a farewell ceremony at the 24th Air Force Base at Prague-Kbely Airport on September 2, marking the retirement of the air arm's two Yakovlev Yak-40 VIP transports, after more than 20 years of service.

Yak-40 [Czech MOD]
The two Czech Air Force Yak-40s perform their final flight before retirement at Kbely on September 2. Czech Ministry of Defence

During the event, the two aircraft, serial numbers 0260 and 1257 (the latter a Yak-40K variant), took off from Kbely and then performed at formation flypast at 1400hrs local time. Representatives from the Czech Ministry of Defence, including Brigadier General Petr Lanči, the Deputy Commander of the Air Force, and Lubor Koudelka, the Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions, plus other distinguished guests, were present at the event.

Czechoslovakia was one of the largest customers for the type, 17 being delivered to Czechoslovak Airlines, while another eight joined the Air Division of the Ministry of the Interior, otherwise known as the Government Squadron. During 1981, the decision was made to transfer two of the Ministry’s Yak-40s to the air force and they joined what was then the 3rd Transport Air Regiment at Kbely.

Latterly they were operated by the 241st Transport Squadron. Although primarily used for transport of government officials, they were also used for general military transport and for medical evacuations.