Second Malian C295 arrives home after long delay


Mali’s military has finally taken delivery of its second Airbus C295 transport aircraft after a year’s delay due to US sanctions.

The Malian military said the aircraft arrived at Air Base 101 at Bamako Senou International Airport on the evening of 31 May. It was welcomed by the Chief of the General Staff, General Oumar Diarra. He was accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Brigadier General Alou Boï Diarra.

The aircraft was delivered from the Airbus factory in Spain after a stopover in Morocco.

Oumar Diarra said the arrival of 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 C295 can be configured for passenger transport (carrying 71 people, or 40 VIPs), for paratrooping (carrying 48 paratroopers) or for medical transport (24 stretchers and six attendants).

Mali ordered the second C295 in late 2020 to supplement the first that arrived in December 2016. The second aircraft, purchased directly from Airbus, was due to arrive in June 2021 but was delayed due to US sanctions imposed in response to allegations of the Malian army recruiting child soldiers, something the Malian government has denied. Mali’s several recent coups did not help the situation.

The aircraft apparently only needed a transponder, to be provided by the US, to be delivered. In August and September 2021, the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdoulaye Diop, visited the United States to try and solve the impasse. This seems to have paid off, with the aircraft now in service.

Mali’s selection of the aircraft was influenced by Ghana’s use of the C295 in support of the Minusma mission in Mali from 2014, with the aircraft exhibiting good endurance and unrefuelled range as well as the ability to operate on unpaved runways.