Libya Gets Two Airbuses Despite U.S. Embargo
PARIS (AP) _ Libya has acquired two Airbus jetliners, powered by American-made engines, despite a U.S. embargo of high technology exports to Libya, industry officials said.
The delivery two weeks ago of two used European Airbus Industrie A310-200 jetliners apparently involved aviation companies and brokers in France, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Algeria, the officials said Monday, confirming a report in the current edition of the French news magazine Le Point.
The airplanes, worth $100 million, apparently were unknowingly sold to Libya by British Caledonian airlines, which has since filed suit in a Paris court seeking to untangle the April 24 sale.
British Caledonian spokesman Tony Cocklin said that according to the contract the airline was selling the two planes to Services Airlines Ltd., a Hong Kong-registered company, which was to resell them to another Hong Kong- based company, Cobra Airways Ltd.
Cocklin said by telephone that British Caledonian demanded assurances the planes would not fall into the hands of certain proscribed countries, and that he was told by telex the ″end user″ was Europe Aero Service, a regional airline based in Perpignan, France.
He quoted the telex as saying the deal was being made through a Swiss brokeridge company, Charlie Bravo Trade and Cargo.
British Caledonian subsequently turned over the planes at London’s Gatwick airport.
Cocklin said British Caledonia later became suspicious when it learned the planes sat on the runway at Dubai for several weeks before being flown to Amman, Jordan, by a West German crew. Algerian pilots then flew the aircraft to Tripoli, Libya, he said.
Georges Masurel, head of Europe Aero Service, said he had no knowledge of the telex confirming the deal for the planes. He said by telephone that EAS had no contact with British Caledonian until the latter filed suit in Paris on July 23 to determine whether the telex was real or fraudulent.
Michael Dym-Neumann, head of Chrlie Bravo Trade and Cargo, also said he had no knowledge of any transaction involving his company, EAS and Services Airlines of Hong Kong.
The Airbus jetliners are powered by General Electric engines. That brings the planes under the stringent U.S. export regulations, and led Airbus last week to tell Libya it was returning that nation’s depoit for four other Airbus A310s.