|Hubs||Khartoum International Airport|
Air West is an airline based in Khartoum, Sudan. It operates domestic passenger services and international cargo charters. Its main base is Khartoum International Airport, with a hub at Sharjah International Airport. This airline has no connection to Hughes Airwest which previously operated in the U.S. as Air West.
The airline is on the List of air carriers banned in the European Union.
The airline was established in April 1992 and started operations in October 1992. Air West was the first Sudanese airline to start to fly between Khartoum and Rumbek, where the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) has its headquarters.
Incidents and accidents
On February 3, 2005, an Air West Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, owned by East-West Airlines based in Sharjah, left Sharjah with 46 tons of humanitarian cargo for Nyala, Darfur province in Sudan, with a planned en route stop at Khartoum. When the crew first contacted Khartoum they advised air traffic control that they had fuel problems. The crew were advised to make an emergency landing at Aad Babaker, which is about 15 km west of Khartoum. The aircraft crashed about 15 km from Khartoum killing all seven crew; six of the crew members were Ukrainian and the pilot of the flight was Sudanese.
On January 24, 2007, Air West Flight 612, a Boeing 737 with 95 passengers and 8 crew on board, was hijacked and diverted to the Chadian capital of N'Djamena. The plane, destined for the town of El Fasher, took off from Khartoum at 8:30 AM. Air traffic control had evidence of only one hijacker aboard the plane. The 24-year-old hijacker, Mahamat Abdelatif Mahamat, was armed with a pistol and several knives. He demanded that the airplane be flown to Britain. When he realized that there was not enough fuel to go to Britain he asked to be flown to Bangui or N'Djamena. The aircraft landed safely in N'Djamena and all passengers were released. The hijacker requested guarantees for his safety from the French embassy and requested political asylum in the United Kingdom. The hijacker's demands were not heeded; he was arrested following twenty minutes of negotiations on the ground.
The Air West fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of 4 April 2008):
- 2 Antonov An-12
- 2 Antonov An-24RV
- 1 Antonov An-26
- 2 Antonov An-28
- 1 Antonov An-32
- 1 Yakovlev Yak-42D