Report for “CNN“The spotlight on the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s luxury plane, which he bought for millions of dollars, and transformed. As the days passed, how many neglected Prime Time Zone were covered in dust at a French airport.
The report talked about the plane, especially Gaddafi, which contains a hot tub, a private cinema, a master bedroom and luxury features on the plane.
The report, translated by the Arab Post, recounted the story of the plane that began in August 2011, at Tripoli International Airport. Which witnessed the Libyan revolution forces seizing the plane of Gaddafi, the leader of Libya for more than forty years.
At the time, foreign journalists were invited to tour the plane, which reflected the luxury and lavishness of it, in stark contrast to the conditions of the country.
And controlling the Libyan leader’s plane was tantamount to controlling one of the symbols of power in Libya.
Where bullets and shrapnel left holes and holes in the fuselage of the four-engine Airbus A340-200. But it was completely intact on the inside.
As the journalists wandered around the plane and its interior rooms, its secrets began to be revealed little by little.
Whereas, although it looked from the outside as if it was another passenger plane of the Libyan “African Airlines” airline. Gaddafi’s plane was equipped with luxurious settings, as if it were Gaddafi’s Flying Palace.
120 million dollars the price of the plane
Speaking about how the plane got to Gaddafi, the report explained that its story began when it was delivered for the first time to Prince Jafari Bolkiah. The younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei.
It is said that the prince spent $ 250 million on supplying it before deciding to sell it after less than 4 years, following his involvement in a legal dispute. With his family about the misuse of state funds, according to a CNN report.
Shortly after, the plane returned to the market, and Gaddafi bought it for $ 120 million in 2006.
In the same year that Gaddafi bought his Airbus, the Libyan government signed an agreement with the Kuwaiti Kharafi Group of Companies. To develop a seaside resort in the Tajoura region, located near the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
However, it was not long before the deal faltered, and in 2010, the Libyan side called it off.
The Kuwaiti group responded by suing Libya before an international arbitration court in Cairo, which in 2013 awarded the company a compensation ruling. $ 930 million, based on estimates of the potential returns for the project, if it continues.
This was only the first stage of a legal dispute that took place in multiple jurisdictions, and is still ongoing.
Gaddafi’s plane was again caught in the crossfire, but this time the fire of the legal dispute, not the fire of weapons.
Al-Kharafi Group filed a lawsuit against Libya in France, and when the plane landed in French Perpignan, the French tried to confiscate it.
From flying palace to trouble
The plane, which was described as the Flying Palace, became a dilemma for the new Libyan authorities, as it was closely linked to the late leader’s excesses.
One of the options presented at the time was to strip it of the VIP cabin and convert it into a regular passenger plane.
This is similar to what happened with the Airbus A340 presidential plane of ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. He was also overthrown in the wave of Arab revolutions in 2011. The plane was then sold to Turkish Airlines police.
However, this had not been decided on Gaddafi’s plane, as the plane’s condition needed an extensive and comprehensive renewal process before a final decision was taken regarding it.
It was for these reasons that the former Air Force One, listed under registration number 5A-ONE, was transferred to EAS Industries facilities. (Now turned into Sabena Technics).
It is an aircraft maintenance and repair company and is a subcontractor to Air France. It is based in Perpignan, in the south of France.
Gaddafi’s plane in a French airport
Gaddafi’s plane remained unlike many of the planes that were severely damaged in the 2011 clashes at Tripoli Airport. It remained airworthy.
Despite this, the plane was so badly damaged that the approximately 1,448-kilometer flight was to southern France. They were to operate at one-third of their normal flight height, and the plane’s landing gear was completely non-retractable.
Once in France, the plane was repaired and repainted.
Also, the old writings on the plane and the numbers “99-9-9”, which belonged to the anniversary of the creation of the African Union, were removed on the 9th. From September of the year 1999, and replaced it by drawing the Libyan flag.
In 2013, the plane was ready to fly again, but instead of entering commercial service, the Libyan government preferred to keep it for its own use.
After a short period of time, and with the deterioration of the security situation in Libya, by March 2014 the plane had returned to Perpignan again.
This time, the arrival of the plane to France was the beginning of an international judicial crisis related to it, to keep the plane stationed on the ground without flying to this day.
A French court issued a ruling in 2015, stating that the plane, at a then-market value of about $ 60 million, belonged to a sovereign state. It is immune to claims of confiscation.
By the year 2016, the plane encountered other problems, as the fees for maintenance, refurbishment and repair rose to nearly $ 3 million. This prompted Air France, a new party to the legal dispute, and made its case even more complex.
It is expected that the amount has increased from then until now, due to the decline in the market value of the four-engine aircraft, which are consumed. Large quantities of fuel, such as the Libyan plane, which is now 25 years old.
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