Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was flown to Berlin in a Bombardier Challenger. The jet is operated by a German airline.
Alexei Navalny collapsed on Thursday on a domestic flight in Russia. The trip of the Putin critic was supposed to bring him from Tomsk to the capital Moscow. But due to the medical emergency, the S7 Airlines plane made an unscheduled landing in Omsk, Siberia.
Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmish announced on the same day that her boss had lost consciousness and was in a coma because of a poisoned tea he had drunken earlier. Russian doctors on the other hand explained his condition with an alleged metabolic disorder. Yarmish later also criticized the poor equipment of the local hospital and urged that Navalny be transferred to a hospital abroad.
Evacuation plane got to Omsk on Friday noon
On Friday morning (August 21) at 3:12 a.m. local time, a Bombardier Challenger 604 of the Nuremberg-based FAI Aviation Group took off from Nuremberg Airport in Germany. The aircraft is used for medical evacuation flights. German doctors were also on board. It landed in Omsk at noon on Friday. The mission was organized by the Berlin initiative Cinema for Peace.
Although the plane was standing ready for the return flight at Omsk airport, it took almost 20 hours until Navalny’s transport to Germany was approved by Russian authorities. «The delay creates a threat to his life», his spokeswoman wrote on Twitter.
Which Berlin airport?
On Saturday morning (22 August) at eight o’clock local time, after Navalny was driven to the airport in an ambulance, the evacuation flight could finally take off. Less than half an hour earlier, his team had shared a photo of him being lifted into the German rescue plane.
Under the callsign IFA1344 the flight would officially go to Berlin-Schönefeld Airport. But in fact, the FAI Bombardier flew to Berlin-Tegel Airport, where it landed at 8:45 am. This false communication of the airport was apparently intentional – for security reasons. Alexei Navalny will now receive treatment at the Berlin hospital Charité.
Operator of business jets and ambulance planes
FAI Aviation Group was founded in 1986. The company is located at Nuremberg Airport and employs around 200 people, including engineers, mechanics and doctors. It operates as a charter airline in VVIP and patient transport. FAI also works with the United Nations on special missions and has a maintenance facility with its own hangars.
FAI’s fleet consists of 26 aircraft – Bombardier Global Express, Challenger 604 and 850, Learjets 60, Beechcraft Premier 1A and King Air 350.