Syria holds Orionair BAe 146

The Syrian government is preventing OrionAir from recovering BAe 146-300 EC-JVO (msn E3179). The 146 had been flown to Syria in early May for operation on behalf of new airline Syrian Pearl, beginning operations on 4 May. On 7 May, however, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce issued a Temporary Denial Order (TDO) deeming the lease to be a “re-export” in violation of a trade embargo imposed on the country. As a result of the US action, BAE Systems, Flybe (which was preparing EC-JVJ for service in Syria), and others were forced to withdraw support from Orionair to avoid falling foul of the same restrictions. The Syrian government, however, is insisting that Orionair fulfill its contract and is refusing it permission to recover the 146. For a time, Orionair’s crews were also prevented from leaving. Following the intervention of the Spanish Foreign Ministry, they were finally allowed to depart in mid June. The unfortunate EC-JVO, however, remains blocked at Damascus Airport.

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