Mali has received an additional C295 transport aircraft from Airbus after more than a year delay.
The C295 left the Airbus factory in Spain earlier this month and a stopover in Morocco before arriving at Air Base 101 at Bamako Senou International Airport on the evening of 31 May.
The aircraft was received in Mali by the Chief of the General Staff, General Oumar Diarra, who was accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Brigadier General Alou Boï Diarra.
Oumar Diarra noted that the aircraft will greatly increase the capabilities of the Malian military (FAMa) and is part of the ramp-up and capacity building of the FAMa.
The Malian Ministry of Defence ordered the second C295 transport aircraft from Airbus Defence & Space in late 2020, to supplement the first aircraft already in operation since December 2016, which has since transported more than 38,000 passengers and 900t of cargo while accumulating 1,770 flight hours.
“This acquisition is in response to the urgent need of the authorities of the Republic of Mali to have permanent air transport capacity within a very short timeframe, providing a vital link supporting operations and actions for the development of isolated areas in the northern regions of the country,” Airbus says.
“This new order also includes an integrated logistics support package with spare parts for the two aircraft and training for flight crews and mechanics,” says the aircraft maker.
The delivery of the C295 was delayed due to US sanctions imposed in response to allegations of the Malian army recruiting child soldiers, something the Malian government has denied.
A U.S.-made transponder prevented the aircraft from being delivered by Airbus.
The Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdoulaye Diop, subsequently paid a one-week visit to the United States to lift restrictions.