The story of a South African jet in Moscow


The story of a South African jet in Moscow

In July this year South Africa became a popular destination for Russian business jets and other aircraft – presumably because of the friendly relations between this government and that of President Vladimir Putin. However, when a jet that had just been registered on the South African airplane registry suddenly arrived in Moscow at the end of August, it drew the attention of people in aviation circles. ERIKA GIBSON followed the jet’s tracks.

ON 27 August an Embraer Legacy 650 jet left Basel for Moscow. Basel is a popular destiny where jets are upgraded, spiffed up and made fit for purpose for wealthy clients. An old plane spotter friend (people who watch online radar screens closely for any sign of unusual aircraft movement) mentioned that it was the jet’s first flight with the registration number ZS-ABB.

Until shortly before that, it had been registered as P4-888 on the aircraft registry of Aruba, the autonomous Dutch island in the Caribbean Sea. Aruba is also a popular destination for those looking to “obscure” their ownership during the registration of aircraft, mainly for tax purposes.  

The jet flew via Turkey to Moscow, where it is parked at the Vnukovo airport – Russia’s primary commercial airport and home to several official government airplanes...

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