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Cablegate: Current Status of Iraqi Aircraft in Jordan

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 AMMAN 005889

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ETTC IZ JO
SUBJECT: CURRENT STATUS OF IRAQI AIRCRAFT IN JORDAN

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: CPA officials have informally sought
Embassy Amman's assistance in determining the status and
timely return to Iraqi government control of seven airplanes
of probable Iraqi government ownership currently known to be
located in Jordan. Post was able to take a close look at six
of the airplanes, Iraqi Airways jets parked in Amman since
1991, and found them in varying states of repair. Their
disposition raises financial, legal, and practical issues on
which Embassy would appreciate Washington guidance. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) Of the seven aircraft, six Iraqi Airways craft
have remained at Queen Alia International Airport near Amman
since their last flights in 1991-1992 and have received
little/no maintenance since 1999. They are in various stages
of repair, but there seems to be no dispute as to their
ownership. An informal assessment by TDY military personnel
(text below) found that one of these airplanes could probably
be flown out with relatively minimal further maintenance, and
others could potentially be flown out with moderate further
maintenance. In addition to the practical airworthiness
questions, Jordanian officials are likely to raise questions
about the legal status of the aircraft under post-1991
sanctions against Iraq and UNSCR 1483 before allowing their
return to Iraq or sale on behalf of Iraq. In addition, the
GOJ has incurred demurrage and other costs after a decade of
airport parking for which it may seek compensation. (Post is
seeking information on the accumulated amount of such
charges.)

3. (SBU) The seventh airplane, a Dassault Falcon-50
executive jet (tail number HB-IES), has been impounded at
Marka Airport in Amman since March 19, 2003. While it is in
good repair, the ownership of this airplane is unclear.
According to Jordanian records, the plane is owned by a Swiss
company, Aviatrans, and operated by Jet Aviation, also a
Swiss company. While they know that the jet was used to
transport senior Iraqi officials during the 1990s, the
Jordanians will want to be assured of the Iraqi government's
rights to the aircraft before releasing it. Post is in
process of trying to obtain the serial number of this
airplane from the Jordan Civil Air Authority (JCAA) and will
update the Department when the number has been obtained.

------------------
TEXT OF HACC REPORT
------------------

2. (SBU) On 25 August 2003, LtCol Mareus Richter, a USAF
maintenance and logistics officer, and Maj Derek Fox, a USAF
officer working in the Humanitarian Assistance Coordination
Center)Amman, conducted an initial assessment of the status
of six Iraqi Airways aircraft located at Queen Alia Airport,
Jordan. Their report follows:

3. (SBU) Aircraft were identified by distinctive livery, tail
registration number and airframe numbers. They were assessed
by visual inspection for visible corrosion, structural
damage, leaks, and missing parts. A review of flight logs
was done and application of external power was conducted.
All aircraft were powered up by Lt Col Richter with spot
checks of fuel levels, transfer pump operation, instrument
initialization etc conducted.

4. (SBU) Boeing 707 Cargo, YI AGE, 692917 ) Condition Fair,
last recorded flight April 1992, last maintenance activity
1999. Engines 1, & 2 no visible corrosion, 3 & 4 have
visible corrosion/perforations, some engine nacelle skin
corrosion, no visible structural airframe corrosion,
structural condition of tail assembly unknown, paint peeling
in places, tires low/flat and cracked, landing gear and
hydraulic systems had no visible corrosion or damage,
accumulators still holding pressure, interior serviceable,
cockpit was serviceable, radar head had been removed,
batteries on aircraft bad, but disconnected, cargo bay was
serviceable. Fuel was still present in tanks. External power
was applied but there was a problem with a connection in the
lower bay, which precluded checking any systems.

5. (SBU) Boeing 707 Cargo in PAX configuration, YI AGF,
?????? (no number plate found) ) Condition poor, last
recorded flight January 1991, last known maintenance activity
1999. All 4 engines have visible corrosion/perforations,
some engine nacelle skin corrosion, no visible structural
airframe corrosion, structural condition of tail assembly
unknown, paint had minor peeling, tires low and cracked,
landing gear and hydraulic systems no visible corrosion or
damage, accumulators still holding pressure, batteries on
aircraft bad, but disconnected, cargo bay was converted to
PAX configuration, interior dirty but could be made
serviceable in cargo configuration, cockpit was serviceable,
radar was present. Fuel was still present in tanks. External
power was applied, and all systems powered up, fuel transfer
pumps worked and ILS initialized.

6. (SBU) Boeing 727-270 PAX configuration, YI AGK,
21197-A3WE)700, Condition good, last recorded flight
unknown, last known maintenance activity 1999. Engines 1, 2
& 3 no visible corrosion, no visible structural airframe
corrosion, structural condition of upper tail assembly
unknown, paint good, tires low and showing minor cracking,
landing gear and hydraulic systems had no visible corrosion
or damage, accumulators still holding pressure, interior
serviceable, cockpit was serviceable, batteries on aircraft,
but disconnected. Fuel was still present in tanks. External
power was applied, and all systems powered up, fuel transfer
pumps worked and ILS initialized.

7. (SBU) Boeing 727-270 PAX configuration, YI AGQ,
2261-A3WE)700, Condition good, last recorded flight unknown,
last known maintenance activity 1999. Engines 1, 2 & 3 no
visible corrosion, no visible structural airframe corrosion,
structural condition of upper tail assembly unknown, paint
good, tires low and showing minor cracking, landing gear and
hydraulic systems had no visible corrosion or damage,
accumulators still holding pressure, interior very good,
cockpit was serviceable, batteries on aircraft, but
disconnected. Fuel was still present in tanks. External
power was applied, and all systems powered up, fuel transfer
pumps worked and ILS initialized.

8. (SBU) Boeing 727-270 PAX configuration, YI AGL,
21198-A3WE)700, Condition very good, last recorded flight
unknown, last known maintenance activity 1999. Engines 1, 2
& 3 no visible corrosion, no visible structural airframe
corrosion, structural condition of upper tail assembly
unknown, paint good, tires low and showing minor cracking,
landing gear and hydraulic systems had no visible corrosion
or damage, accumulators still holding pressure, interior very
good with large business class style seating in forward
cabin, cockpit was in good condition, batteries on aircraft,
but disconnected. Fuel was still present in tanks. External
power was applied, and all systems powered up, fuel transfer
pumps worked and ILS initialized.

9. (SBU) Boeing 727-270 PAX configuration, YI AG?,
2????-A3WE)700, Saddam,s plane for use by senior officials
with custom interior. Condition excellent, last recorded
flight unknown, last known maintenance activity 1999. Plane
was locked and until recently had an Iraqi security guard.
Plane has very low hours and includes a complete set of
spares and tools in hold. A number of weapons were found on
the plane including AK-47s and pistols. Engines 1, 2 & 3 no
visible corrosion, no visible structural airframe corrosion,
structural condition of upper tail assembly unknown, paint
very good, tires very good with no wear or cracking, landing
gear and hydraulic systems had no visible corrosion or
damage, accumulators still holding pressure, interior good,
with custom layout. Large 1st class seats in forward cabin,
VIP couches in center cabin with wooden coffee tables with
gold ash trays and drink holders, picture of Saddam, business
class seating in rear cabin. Cockpit was like new, batteries
on aircraft OK, but disconnected. Fuel was still present in
tanks. External power was applied, and all systems powered
up, fuel transfer pumps worked and ILS initialized.

10. (SBU) After physical inspection of the aircraft we sat
with and discussed their historical maintenance records with
Mr. Bashir Abdel Hadi, the General Manager of Jordan Aircraft
Maintenance Ltd (JorAMCo), and Mr. Imad Al Farahid, the Royal
Jordanian (RJ) Director of line maintenance. They provided
us with the following maintenance options available at Queen
Alia:

11. (U) Service )
A - Boeing-led complete physical assessment approx 2000
man-hours including records/NOTAMS review of mod history,
bore-scope examination of engines, etc Cost $120-150K;
B - Check level $40K (Includes change fluids and lubrication)
plus parts;
C - Check level $300K plus parts;
D - Check level $1.5-2M plus parts (Will result in
Airworthiness certification);
Other - Customer specified service available on a per
man-hour basis plus parts;

Parts )
707 engines available for $50K plus installation,
All other Boeing parts available on order through JorAMCo
parts service.

12. (SBU) We also discussed service measures required with a
views towards both making the aircraft meet type FAA
airworthiness certification for return to full operation, or
to be serviceable for ferry status to return to BIAP only.
The consensus of the maintenance staffs was that if return to
service with Airworthiness certificates was the goal, that
the assessment should be conducted of all aircraft first,
except Saddam,s plane (all at meeting considered YIAG? to
have such low hours and be in good condition that it could go
straight into B-level maintenance and then fly to BIAP) and
then order the appropriate service package as indicated by
the assessment. Most likely this will involve D-Level
service because of the length of time sitting, and the lack
of knowledge about currency of updates and mods to the
aircraft, with a cost of $1.5-2M each. If a ferry status to
BIAP only was all that was desired then:

A) 707 cargo YIAGE with a C-Level service could be made
operational by replacement of 2 engines some tires and misc.
parts taken from the other 707 airframe and signed off for
ferry flight to BIAP for approx $400K, barring some major
unforeseen structural damage. Time required 4 weeks

B) The three 727-270,s could be given a B-level service for
$40K, plus cost of tires replaced, and misc. parts and signed
off for a ferry flight for less than approx $100K average
each. Time required 2 weeks each

C) Saddam,s 727-270 could be given a B-level check and flown
to BIAP for approx $40K in less than a week.

13. Maintenance Slots at the service facility are limited as
business is good. One slot exists for the 707 in Sept. No
slots exist for the 727-270,s until May, except one in
December, which could be booked soon. Another option was
also briefly explored for making plane airworthy to ferry to
BIAP. USAF has maintainers for both airframes. If USAF
crews were available, could they use the ramp and limited
facilities for USAF ground maintenance crews to
inspect/service the aircraft to facilitate moving the
aircraft back to Iraqi. Both companies had no problems with
that if Gov,t of JO approved it.

14. In summary, the aircraft, with the exception of one 707,
still have some value as commercial aircraft and could be
returned to airworthiness with a committed expenditure, or
made flyable and moved to BIAP for future determination of
use or disposition with a modest expenditure. Either option
can be done utilizing either local service or by bringing in
USAF personnel to accomplish them.
GNEHM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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