Two Turkish A400M aircraft stuck in Kyiv since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine finally departed the country.
The Turkish Air Force airlifters were tracked by flightradar24 services after crossing the border between Ukraine and Romania. While their final destination was unknown at the time this article was published, one can assume from their direction that they are headed for Turkey, their home country.
On February 24, 2022, the two aircraft flew to Kyiv-Boryspil International Airport (KBP) shortly after midnight. According to the Turkish Minister of Defense, they were delivering humanitarian supplies and were supposed to repatriate Turkish nationals.
However, with the invasion erupting later that day and the closure of Ukraine’s airspace, the two military transport aircraft rested on the tarmac of Boryspil for the past 10 months. The crew members found refuge at the Turkish Embassy in Kyiv.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since sought to establish an air corridor with Ukraine and Russia in order to recover the two A400Ms. No official communication has been issued yet, but the negotiations visibly succeeded after several failed attempts.
The A400M is a military transport aircraft designed by Airbus Defence and Space. It entered service in 2013 and is offered as a successor for older transporters such as the C-130 Hercules or the C-160 Transall. It can transport up to 37 tons of cargo or 116 soldiers with equipment over 4,500 kilometers.
The Turkish Air Force operates a total of 10 A400M aircraft, including the two stranded in Kyiv. The last aircraft was delivered on March 30, 2022.