Abandoned 40-year-old Ilyushin Il-76 to be auctioned in Turkey

Turkey’s General Directorate of State Airports Authority has decided to find a new home for a 40-year-old Ilyushin Il-76 four-engine strategic airlifter, announcing that the abandoned Soviet-era plane will be put up for auction.   

The special auction is scheduled for November 22, 2022, according to Yeni Şafak. The initial bid for the plane, which has spent more than 11 years parked at Erzurum Airport (ERZ) in eastern Turkey, will reportedly start at around $21,500 (TRY400,000)  

Who abandoned the Ilyushin Il-76? And why? 

Built in 1984, the Ilyushin Il-76 registered 4L-SKN had been operating cargo flights for now-defunct Georgian air carrier Sky Georgia, which was operating out of Tbilisi International Airport (TBS). However, in 2011 the aircraft, which was designed to deliver heavy machinery and other freight to remote and poorly served areas, conducted a flight that determined its fate. 

In October 2011, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the eastern part of Turkey, resulting in the deaths of 600 residents and leaving at least around 60,000 people homeless. As the region suffered a significant humanitarian crisis, the government of Georgia launched an air bridge between Georgia and Erzurum Airport, one of the closest and largest Turkish airports in the area, for humanitarian aid flights. 

On October 30, 2011, the now-abandoned Ilyushin Il-76 arrived at ERZ airport carrying aid. However, after landing the plane was involved in an incident with a Kyrgyzstan Airlines Il-76 registered EX-036. By the time the 4L-SKN was taxiing, the Kyrgyzian plane was being towed and the two planes bumped into one another. The impact resulted in substantial damage to both airframes.  

Abandoned 40-year-old Ilyushin Il-76Igor Bubi / Wikimedia Commons

Although both planes were supposed to be fixed, only the Kyrgyzstan Airlines Il-76 was repaired and returned to its home country. The 4L-SKN was covered with a tarpaulin and left for storage while insurance companies struggled to settle the claim. 

While it’s been more than 11 years since the event, the plane has never flown again. Sky Georgia ceased operations the same year and the country’s government has shown no interest in recover in the aircraft. 

However, it seems that the aircraft could soon find a new home.  

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