Greece donates ERJ135 to Cyprus

An Embraer ERJ135BJ Legacy 600 business jet has been donated to Cyprus by the Greek government.

The aircraft, serial number 135L-484 (c/n 145484), was previously operated by the Hellenic Air Force (HAF)/112 Pteriga Makhis’ (112 Combat Wing’s) 352 Mira Metaforas Ypsilon Prospon (VIP Transport Squadron) ‘Cosmos’ at Elefsis. In preparation for its delivery, by August 18 it had been repainted in Cypriot Air Force (CAF) VIP colours with new serial CAF 001 and ‘Republic of Cyprus’ titles on the forward fuselage, along with the flags and emblems of Cyprus and the European Union (EU).

Hellenic Air Force ERJ135
This Hellenic Air Force ERJ135BJ Legacy 600 (serial 135L-484) has now been repainted in Cypriot Air Force colours and is due for delivery shortly. HAF

It had been in HAF service since January 2002. Delivery to Cyprus is anticipated shortly. An agreement for its donation to Cyprus had been confirmed during the Greek prime minister’s official visit to Cyprus on June 17. It will be used for transport of the Cypriot President, prime minister and other senior ministerial officials. The aircraft was donated as a thank you for Cypriot aid during firefighting in the Matti region, near Athens, in July 2018. Cyprus had sent a firefighting aircraft and 60 firefighters to assist in tackling the blaze.

This will be a first for the CAF, which has not previously operated its own dedicated VIP ‘Air Force One’ aircraft. Currently, it only operates a handful of helicopters. Until December 2021, the CAF had flown eleven Mi-35Ps but these were grounded due to maintenance costs and difficulty in obtaining spares. There had been talks over a possible sale to Serbia and then, earlier this year, on April 1, the US government had asked Cyprus if it would be willing to transfer them to Ukraine. Although the request was received positively, nothing further has been heard of the proposal to date.