US Government objects to Syrian Pearl lease

The US government has formally objected to Orionair‘s lease of two BAe 146s to Syrian airline Syrian Pearl, deeming it to be a “re-export” in violation of a trade embargo imposed on the country. On 7 May, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce issued a Temporary Denial Order (TDO) forbidding the lease. Although the BAe 146 is British-built and Orionair is a Spanish airline, the US claims jurisdiction because the aircraft’s engines, APU, and EFIS are US-built. Orionair argued, to no avail, that its arrangement with Syrian Pearl was a standard ACMI lease, and not a “re-export”. The US action means that others, such as BAE Systems, would withdraw support from Orionair, as US law considers anyone assisting someone subject to a TDO to be themselves in violation of export restrictions. Orionair had planned to operate its two BAe 146-300s on behalf of Syrian Pearl. The first, EC-JVO (msn E3179), is already in Syria, where she began operations on 4 May. Sistership EC-JVJ (msn E3195) is currently at Exeter and was to have joined her soon.

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