Click Airways connected to Victor Bout ?

July 2008- While Victor remains in arrest in Bangkok,Thailand we may consider if his business is operating as normal. A company I would like to have a closer look at is Click Airways, allegedly a company with ties to the infamous arms dealer.


06 mar 08, 1121GMT - The Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A Russian arms dealer accused of breaking U.N. arms embargoes by supplying weapons to African war zones was arrested Thursday in Bangkok, Thai police said.
Police Lt. Gen. Pongpat Chayapan, head of the Crime Suppression Bureau, said Viktor Bout was arrested in the heart of the capital Bangkok on a warrant issued by a Thai court. The warrant came out of an earlier one issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman «congratulated» the Thai police for the arrest but could not provide details about the role the Americans played in it. Details of the charges against Bout were also not immediately available.
Victor Bout upon his arrest - AP PhotoBout allegedly has been trafficking weapons to Central and West Africa since the early 1990s. U.N. reports say he set up a network of more than 50 aircraft around the world and trade experts have said illicit diamond trade was likely one source of funds for his smuggled arms shipments.
Although Bout has been investigated by police in several countries, he has never been prosecuted for arms dealing. A 2005 report by Amnesty International, a Britain-based human rights watchdog, alleged that Bout was «the most prominent foreign businessman» involved in trafficking arms to U.N.-embargoed destinations from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and other countries.
The report also implicated Bout in transferring «very large quantities of arms» from Ukraine that were delivered to Uganda via Tanzania aboard a Greek-registered cargo ship.
In 2003, the U.N. imposed an arms embargo on the provinces of North and South Kivu and the Ituri regions of eastern Congo, and also on groups that were not a part of the 2003 peace agreement for the region.

Photo courtesy NY / Associated Press


I came across a list of airlines of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.):

Abu Dhabi Aviation | Aerovista Airlines | Air Arabia | Air Cess | Al Rais Cargo | Arabjet | Aria Air | | British Gulf International Airlines | Cargo Plus Aviation | Click Airways | Daallo Airlines | Dolphin Air | Emirates | Emirates SkyCargo | Etihad Airways | Etihad Crystal Cargo | Falcon Aviation Services | Falcon Express Cargo | irlines | HeavyLift International | JetSet Cargo | Jupiter Airlines | Kinshasa Airways | Maximus Air Cargo | Phoenix Aviation | Pluto Airlines | RAK Airways | Royal Jet | Reem Air | StarJet |

Abu Dhabi Aviation : Abu Dhabi Aviation is an airline based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It serves oil-fields and economic facilities in the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states. Its main base is Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Aerovista Airlines : Aerovista Airlines is an airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It was established and started operations in 1999 and operates passenger and cargo services in the Persian Gulf area. Its main base is Sharjah International Airport.

Air Arabia : Air Arabia is a low-cost airline based in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. It operates scheduled services to 32 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia. Its main base is Sharjah International Airport. Air Arabia is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization.

Air Cess : Air Cess is a cargo airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It operates charter cargo services.
Some sources link this company with the arms seller Viktor Bout.

Al Rais Cargo : Al Rais Cargo is a cargo airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was established in 1983 and its main base is Dubai International Airport.

Arabjet : Arabjet is a start-up airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was established on 1 August 2004 and is a proposed regional all business class, premium service scheduled airline. It is wholly owned by ArabJet FZCO and its main base is Dubai International Airport.

Aria Air : Aria Air is an airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It operates international and domestic passenger services. Its main base is Dubai International Airport. : is an airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It operates charter and passenger aircraft leasing. Its main base is Sharjah International Airport.

British Gulf International Airlines : British Gulf International Co. LTD is a cargo airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and operating from Sharjah and Dubai. Its main base is Sharjah International Airport, with a hub at Dubai International Airport.

Cargo Plus Aviation : Cargo Plus Aviation is a cargo airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It operates ad hoc flights to Asia, Africa and eastern Europe.

Click Airways : Click Airways is an airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It was established in 2004 and operates international charter services. Its main base is Sharjah International Airport.

Daallo Airlines : Daallo Airlines is an airline, headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It operates scheduled services in East Africa and the Middle East with extensions to France and the United Kingdom. Its main base is Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport.

Dolphin Air : Dolphin Air is a charter airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It operates charter services within the Middle East. Its main base is Dubai International Airport.

Emirates : Emirates Airline (shortened form: Emirates) is an airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the Middle East's largest airline and it operates scheduled passenger services, with nearly 2350 flights each week, serving 92 cities in 59 countries in Europe, North America, Middle East, Africa, India, Asia-Pacific and the competitive "kangaroo route" between Europe and Oceania. Cargo activities are undertaken under the Emirates SkyCargo name. Its main base is Dubai International Airport.

Emirates SkyCargo : Emirates SkyCargo is a cargo airline based at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is a subsidiary of Emirates and started operations in October 1985. It operates dedicated cargo flights to 30 destinations in 22 countries, whilst using bellyhold capacity in the Emirates passenger fleet.

Etihad Airways : Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. Etihad is based in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.
'‘Etihad’' (Arabic: federation or union) is the Arabic abbreviation for the United Arab Emirates. It operates services to the Middle East, Europe, Indian Subcontinent, North America, Far East and Oceania. Its main base is Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Etihad Crystal Cargo : Etihad Crystal Cargo is Etihad's cargo division, operating a fleet of three A300-600F freighter aircraft. It started operations in September 2004. Etihad Crystal Cargo flew the first commercial cargo flight between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Frankfurt International Airport. Etihad Crystal Cargo is also experiencing significant growth and is expected to double its turnover of Dh361.50 million (US$98.5 million) in 2005 to over Dh734 million (US$200 million) in 2006. Crystal handled 115,000 tonnes of cargo in 2005, about 50 per cent of the cargo uplifted from Abu Dhabi airport. Etihad’s new facility at Abu Dhabi airport will be equipped to handle more than 500,000 tonnes annually. With engine efficiency improvements and design changes that increase payload capabilities up to 20 tonnes per flight, some of the new aircraft, that have recently joined Etihad’s fleet, particularly the Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 777-300ER will play a significant role in cargo expansion.

Falcon Aviation Services : Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) is an airline based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It operates business jet and helicopter charter services, as well as search and rescue operations for the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces . Its main base is Bateen Airport.

Falcon Express Cargo Airlines : Falcon Express Cargo Airlines is a cargo airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was established in 1995 and operates express parcel services throughout the Persian Gulf, mainly for FedEx. Its main base is Dubai International Airport.

HeavyLift International :

JetSet Cargo :

Jupiter Airlines : Jupiter Airlines is an airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It began by flying domestic routes within the United Arab Emirates, but has added various major cities in the Middle East to their list of destinations. In December 2004, they launched a service between Dubai and Baghdad .

Kinshasa Airways : Kinshasa Airways is a cargo airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It was established in 2002 and operates cargo services from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Middle East.
As of June 2006, Kinshasa Airways is on the List of air carriers banned in the EU.

Maximus Air Cargo : Maximus Air Cargo is a cargo airline based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It started operations in 2003 and provides outsize and general cargo transport using Antonov An-124, Ilyushin Il-76 and Lockheed Hercules aircraft leased in as required. It is the largest all cargo airline in the UAE and premier operator of outsized cargo aircraft in the Middle East.

Phoenix Aviation : Phoenix Aviation was an airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It was established and started operations in 1996 and operated passenger and freight services. Its main base was Sharjah International Airport, with hubs at Bishkek airport (FRU) and Jinnah International Airport (KHI), Karachi.
Phoenix Aviation of Kyrgyzstan was blacklisted by the British government due to poor safety standards, and is now added to a newly created European Union blacklist in 2006.

Pluto Airlines : Pluto Airlines is an airline based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It is a start-up airline planning to operate the Sharjah to Muscat route and later extend its network to Dakar.

RAK Airways : RAK Airways is the future national airline of Ras Al Khaimah, one of the four in United Arab Emirates. The airline is planning to launch operations early in 2007 with two Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
The airline is also in talks with Indian Low-cost Carrier SpiceJet for a possible interline agreement between them. RAK airways eventually plans to fly to destinations in Iran also.
The airline may start charter and scheduled services from its Ras al Khaimah base as early as April 2007 using a Boeing 737-300 and a Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
As of May 2007, beginning of operation has been delayed and chief executive refuses to speculate whether the airline would even launch in 2007. (source Gulf News)
The first 757 is ready, with RAK livery:

Royal Jet : Royal Jet is an airline based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is a charter operator aimed at the luxury market between the UAE and Europe. Its main base is Abu Dhabi International Airport, with hubs at Dubai International Airport and King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Reem Air :

StarJet :


There is Click Airways (of Kyrgyzstan, founded 2003) and Click Airways International (of Armenia, founded 2006)... Not counting Click Airways in Spain, a lowcost operator & subsidiary of Iberia and I think we can rule that one out in this matter.

Click Airways (right) has:Click Airways Int'l
IL-76TD EX-035 (c/n 9349862) []
An-12BP EX-169 (c/n 1348005)
An-26B EX-106 (c/n 97308303) nil found


Click Airways Int'l (below) has:
An-12BP EK-11107 (c/n 5343506) nil
An-12BP EK-11418 (c/n 7344705) nil

The screendumps are courtesy (ATDB)

I wonder if the fact that EX-035 has been flying in SE Asia (o.b.o. Imtrec - a company that is rumored to have 'via via' contacts with VB) had anything to do with Mr Bout's visit to Bangkok.



Click Airways, I've been told, is being handled at Sharjah (U.A.E.) by RUS Aviation (or RUSS Aviation?). I've also been told, anno 2010, they have complete control on all the cargo flights in and out of Iraq... The Iraqi government gave them a long term contract, their monopoly made the prices go up and allegedly some Iraqi government people made a lot of money out of this... That smells of corruption, which could damage the Iraqi economy and certainly is not part of 'Democracy' as the Western world intended to bring to Iraq.
Anyway, back to RUS Aviation; their website shows a fleet of Russian aircraft available for charter: IL-76, An-12, An-124, Tu-154 as well as one western type, the Boeing 737. Obviously not operated by themselves, but to be chartered from operators not mentioned (Click Airways?).
See Wikipedia on Click Airways, their fleet details mostly matches what RUS Aviation has on offer.
During a brief visit to SHJ in Feb.2010 I did see several unmarked IL-76s parked at the East Cargo Terminal in SHJ.
The HQ adress of RUS Aviation is in Sharjah, U.A.E. Their excellent website, also to be found by this adress, shows a routemap with (many) destinations in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, Somalia and Kyrgyzstan. Click Airways is banned by the EU from operating on European destinations.


Iraq controversy fades as market falls
INEFFICIENCY, profiteering and monopolistic behaviour, were all accusations made against RUS Aviation of Sharjah when it won an exclusive 4-year deal to build up the cargo business of Iraqi Airways last August.
Cargo operators who had been flying into the country ever since the aftermath of the 2003 war, suddenly found themselves having to work through RUS instead, and many claimed that it was not up to the job.
The controversy swiftly evaporated, however, with companies such as Coyne Airways and Chapman Freeborn signing GSA deals with RUS in recent months.
Coyne was appointed UK and Ireland GSA in March, after Chapman Freeborn had won the USA contract. Coyne said at the time that RUS 'offers excellent schedule integrity and proven reliability into Iraq'.



Merchant of Death, the book... Former West African Bureau Chief of the Washington Post, Douglas Farah and Los Angeles Times National Correspondent, Stephen Braun detail how a small circle of U.S. officials and international investigators worked doggedly to shut down Viktor Bout's arms pipelines, only to be trumped by Bout's ingenuity and by their own inability-and, in some cases, unwillingness- to confront the dark side of the new world order.

Published in 2007:


To show that Victor Bout is not the only one doing business under a smokescreen of many company names:

Seized Il-76 tracked back to Kazakhstan

An extensive investigation into the tangled web of shell companies that were behind the Il-76 seized in Bangkok (Thailand) for arms running, has tracked its owner back to Almaty (Kazakhstan).

The cargo aircraft and crew were detained last year by the Thai authorities after a tip-off from US intelligence agencies. On board were 35 tons of explosives, rocket-propelled grenades, surface-to-air missiles and other weaponry picked up from North Korea and destined for…which is where the trail grows murky. The crew and manifest claimed the cargo to be “oil industry spare parts”.

Research uncovered layer upon layer of suspiciously new and previously unknown companies and an extremely elaborate flight path. Starting in Baku (Azerbaijan) it first flew to Al-Fujairah (UAE) and Bangkok before taking on its cargo in Pyongyang (North Korea). It then returned to Bangkok where it was then held. If it had been allowed to continue on its journey it would have continued to Colombo (Sri Lanka), then Al-Fujairah again, on to Kiev, where it would double back to Tehran (Iran) to offload and then ending up in Podgorica (Montenegro): in total, a distance of over 24,500km.

The web of companies is just as tortuous. Overseas Trading FZE, a leasing company based in Sharjah (UAE) and owned by Svetlana Zykova, leased the Il-76 to a Georgian firm, Air West, owned by Levan Kakabadze.
Air West in turn leased the aircraft to SP Trading, a company that was created by Yury Lunyov only weeks before the deal was set in motion. SP Trading charted the aircraft to the Hong Kong-registered Union Top Management (UTM). UTM was also only created a month previously. The founder of UTM – Dario Cabreros Garmendia of Spain – cannot be found nor can the North Korean company that sourced the weapons.

Lunyov claims that another company – the Ukrainian Aerotrack – had responsibility for chaperoning the shipment from North Korea to Iran and that it was Aerotrack that originally falsified the charter agreement and packing list to suggest the freight was the spare parts.

No Aerotrack has ever been at its listed address and its main contact’s – Victoria Doneckaya – telephone number is a private residence that has never heard of her or Aerotrack.

In fact, all the companies’ owners (at least, those that could be found) – Zykova, Kakabadze and Lunyov – deny ever knowing what the shipment was. However, they all share one connection: Alexander Zykov, husband to Zykova and known associate of Lunyov.

Zykov owns East Wing a Kazakhstani airfreight company. It was his crew that were detained. Companies and aircraft belonging to Zykov are known to have been involved in arms trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa. However, Zykov claims that the crew were on temporary leave when they were caught.

Friends and family of the crew say that working for Zykov is well paid but in return the crew must ask no questions of the shipments and be prepared to fly dangerously ill-maintained aircraft into conflict zones, such as the Sudan and Somalia.

A friend and once fellow pilot of one of the crewmembers – Mikhail Petukhov – said: “It’s not easy working for [East Wings]. For one thing, their planes are old, so the flights are dangerous. And it also means being ready to break pretty much every aviation law on the books. But it’s work, and they pay well," he said.

An engineer who regularly works on Zykov’s aircraft said: “You get paid to do the flight, and you don't ask any questions about what's inside the boxes.”
./ end quote


Updates & comments welcomed.


Victor Bout, the Official Website
Website of Sharjah Aint'l Airport

Back to Victor Bout's file

Created 21-Jul-2008,
Updated 01-Jun-2010 6