Transporte Aéreo Rioplatense

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Transporte Aéreo Rioplatense SACL was an Argentinian cargo airline. It operated in the 1970s and 1980s.


Boeing 707 LV-MSG at Malpensa Airport, Italy, 1981

The airline was set up in December 1969 by Carlos F. Martinez Guerrero and several of his associates. Operations commenced in July 1970, however, the first aircraft, a Canadair CL-44 freighter did not commence service with the airline until 1971.[1][2] Flights with the CL-44 commenced between Buenos Aires and Houston, on which cattle were transported, and the airline quickly established itself operating worldwide ad hoc charters, leading to the addition of three more of the aircraft type. The airline had regular flights to Houston and Miami, and to Basel, Switzerland from September 1976.[1][2]

The airline acquired its first Boeing 707 freighter from Dan-Air in 1978, and a second one a year later. The arrival of the 707s led to the gradual retirement from service of the CL-44s.[2]

Transporte Aéreo Rioplatense continued to operate into the 1980s, but had ceased operations by 1989.[3]

1981 CL-44 crash[edit]

Canadair CL-44 of TAR at Basle Airport in October 1976. The same aircraft was brought down by the Soviet Air Force in July 1981

In 1981 the airline was contracted to conduct a series of flights to send arms to Iran, to assist in arming Nicaraguan contras. Military equipment from Israel was shipped to Iran, in support of the latter during its war with Iraq. A total of 360 tons of arms was to be transported from Israel to Iran.[4][5][6]

On 18 July 1981, one of the airline's CL-44s was returning to Cyprus after making the third delivery flight to Iran. It strayed into Soviet airspace in the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and the Soviet Air Force sent a Sukhoi Su-15 to intercept it. The Su-15 hit the CL-44's tail and it crashed near the Soviet-Turkish border, killing all four of the occupants. The Soviet Union claimed that its Su-15 pilot deliberately downed the CL-44 by aerial ramming.[5][6][7][8]


  1. ^ a b "World Airline Directory". Flight International. 22 April 1978. p. 1202. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  2. ^ a b c Magnusson, Michael (1995). Latin glory: airlines of Latin America. Zenith Imprint. p. 12. ISBN 0-7603-0024-0. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  3. ^ "Transportes Aéreos Rioplatense". Aerotransport Data Bank. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  4. ^ Joseph, Gilbert Michael; Spenser, Daniela (2008). "Transnationalizing the Dirty War: Argentina in Centra America". In from the cold: Latin America's new encounter with the Cold War. Armony, Ariel C. Duke University Press. p. 165. ISBN 0-8223-4121-2. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  5. ^ a b "Soviets down Argentine plane. Did crash involve Israel-Iran deal?". London: The Bulletin (Bend). 28 July 1981. pp. D–4. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  6. ^ a b "Israel sold arms to Iran: claim". London: The Age. 27 July 1981. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  7. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  8. ^ Reier, Jochen (2008). Mit dem Lkw durch die islamische Revolution im Iran (in German). p. 171. ISBN 3-00-025513-3. Retrieved 2009-11-10.