05/03/2012

Foreign Air Force planes visit Geneva

Since mid-March 2012 big Hercules C-130 transport aircraft of the Algerian and Moroccan Air Forces have been visiting Geneva regularly. What are they transporting?

These aircraft, with just one exception, do not emit any callsign to indicate what flight they are operating. Unsurprisingly, they do not appear on the Airport arrivals and departure boards. Somehow, however, the spotters around the airport seem always to know when they are coming, and hence are invariably there to take photos.

One recent one, belonging to the Royal Moroccan Air Force, came here yesterday morning, May 2, then left just before 8 am this morning. Its departure over Vernier would have been very noticeable to Vernier residents: the ARAG microphone in Vernier indicated a level several times more noisy than any other early departure (though the departures to the USA subsequently registered similar, though lower, levels). This level of noise will probably be repeated, perhaps today, by a different Hercules of the Royal Moroccan Air Force which arrived today at 10h30 am. On the Web there is a nice picture of this aircraft, with registration CNA-OI and in military camouflage colouring.

Also very much of interest is the Hercules registered as 7T-WHP and belonging to the Algerian Air Force. Since 16 March of this year the aircraft comes to Geneva every Friday between mid-morning and early afternoon. It stays for two to three hours before leaving again. One would suppose that this is the time required to unload it and/or load it, but as to what is unloaded or loaded we have no knowledge. Perhaps someone could learn more by going to a vantage point around the airport tomorrow, Friday 4 May, equipped with a pair of high-power binoculars!

It is interesting to note that Switzerland has a problem with some Algerians whom it would like to deport, since the Algerian Government refuses to sign an agreement to take back these people. This has led to the Geneva State Councillor, Isabelle Rochat, to make proposals to incite these unwelcome Algerians to return voluntarily to their country in return for certain financial incentives. These proposals have been extensively debated.

Perhaps the Geneva government should ask the airport to refuse these Algerian Air Force flights until the Algerian Government accepts that they return carrying some of its unwelcome (in Switzerland) citizens!

 

15:45 Posted in Unusual aircraft | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tags: hercules, geneva, airport, algeria, morocco, rochat | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook