Mongolia’s Eznis Airways has been accused of flying 50 tonnes of military equipment and clothing from China to Russia on an Airbus A330 freighter. Aviation Source News reported this information on December 14, citing the claims of an anonymous “concerned aviation worker.”
The CEO of the Ulaanbaatar-based company, Oyungerel Dagva, discussed the issue with a local news website, Ikon, and said that the airline did not transport cargo to Russia. According to Oyungerel, the information posted on a foreign webpage was an intentional and well-planned attempt to damage the organization’s name.
Eznis stated that the airline intended to sue Aviation Source News and added that the carrier works within the parameters of its legal insurance policy.
The Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that it was working to clarify and settle the matter when questioned.
According to Aviation Source News, the aviation employee who made the accusations also stated: “I have serious news regarding Eznis Airways and their recently acquired Airbus A330-200 Freighter, registration JU-1332.”
According to the industry newspaper, the aircraft, JU-1332, has not been a member of the Eznis Airways fleet for very long. According to the history of ownership of the plane, it was sent to Etihad Airways as A6-EYV by February 2005. The aircraft stayed in the fleet until May 2008, after which it was given to Air One and, by January 2009, Alitalia. On November 4–5, EI-DIR was transported to Ulaanbaatar as JU–1332 for Eznis, and on November 9, it started flying.
“It could indicate that if the aircraft were indeed headed to a Russian base of sorts, then the Russian Government probably would make sure that transponder signals are blocked,” Aviation Source News said. “The last flight the aircraft was used for was from Beijing on November 30, and the flight lost its ADS-B signal over Erenhot, China. Before this abrupt switch to Beijing, the only other flights this aircraft operated had been from Seoul.
This [signal loss] might be a helpful tactic in preventing knowledge of underground bases in the area. On the other hand, we know the nearly nonexistent ADS-B signal strength in Mongolia and Russia, which may allow governments to contract such flights. Since November 30, no more flights have been conducted using this aircraft, supporting the theory that the plane is parked in Ulaanbaatar.
The government of Mongolia has been exceptionally cautious in making any comments regarding the ongoing war, given how the country’s citizens feel about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Late in July, when Mongolia was to host more than 1,000 Russian soldiers for a joint field military exercise in a southwestern province, ministers came under fire for their failure to sufficiently warn the public that Russian military vehicles would soon be spotted on Mongolian highways.