Two former French Air and Space Force Airbus A340-200s have recently appeared in Iran. Babak Taghvaee details the long, delicate process that the heavily sanctioned state takes to acquire western aircraft
On May 23, 2023, two Airbus A340-212s previously used by the French Air and Space Force (FASF) departed Kertajati International Airport in Indonesia, where they had been stored for more than a year.
The two widebodies, the former F-RAJA (c/n 075) and F-RAJB (c/n 081), had been placed on the Malian aircraft registry as TZ-DTA and TZ-DTC, respectively, and were understood to be destined for the West African nation. However, while around 60 miles off the coast of Mumbai at 38,000ft, the crews turned off their ADS-B transponders and continued heading northwest. Eventually, the two 1995-built jets diverted to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRIAF) 10th Tactical Fighter Base at Chabahar, in the southeast of the country.
It is now understood that both aircraft have been acquired by Tehran-based Mahan Air, which has been subject to US Treasury Department sanctions since 2011.