Iran takes possession of two foreign Airbus A340s

Iran smuggled two planes out of Lithuania, the country’s public broadcaster announced on Thursday. The planes were due to fly to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

The two Airbus A340s, leased by the Gambian company Macka Invest, were due to fly to South Asia in February but reportedly ended up in Iran. The aircraft’s transponders—which enable them to be identified on air traffic control radars—were turned off upon entry into Iranian airspace. The aviation data site ch-aviation reported that one plane had landed at Mehrabad airport in Tehran and another at Konarak airport in Chabahar.

The incident was originally reported by, a Lithuanian business news website.

Not the first such incident 

The Iranian aviation company, Mahan Air, now possesses the two aircraft in evasion of American sanctions on the nation in relation to their nuclear program, reported

Iran Air plane Iranian plane 370 (R) (credit: Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters)

Aurelija Kuezada, director of Šiauliai Airport, said a third plane was prevented from taking off because they ” assume[d] that it could have landed in Iran as well.”

“Nothing could have prevented that,” Kuezada continued, “So, we just didn’t let it go when we found out that the first plane had landed in Iran.”

In December 2022, Iran International reported that four commercial Airbus A340 planes that had taken off from Johannesburg en route to Uzbekistan had shut off their transponders and reportedly landed in Iran.

In 2022, the Tehran Times said Iran needed at least 550 aircraft.

Economic sanctions prevent Iran from purchasing new planes, according to the Washington Institute.

The cost of an Airbus A340 is over $150 million.

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