US deploys private military contractors from Libya to Europe

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    The US government has transferred passengers from Erbil to Benghazi and from Benghazi to Sofia via Malta six times since 28 October 2020.

    At least 150 private military contractors have been transported to Europe on Pentagon-chartered flights over the last two months, flight data has revealed.

    US military contractors operating in Benghazi (Libya) have been transferred to Bulgaria’s capital Sofia via Malta using two air companies, according to sources at Sofia Airport:

    • Boeing 767 with registrations N495AX, N441AX or N423AX operated by Omni Air, USA (a Pentagon contractor working under a $19.8 million contractfor air transportation services, according to information from the US federal contracts registry)
    • Saab 2000 with registration ES-NSHoperated by Nyx Air – Estonia
    N495AX Omni Air Boeing 767 (Dilyan T., flickr)
    The US air company Omni Air operates military flights for the Pentagon under a $19.8 million contract for air transportation services. Source: govtribe

    On 27 October 2020 at 14:23 UTC the American Boeing 767 with registration N495AX operated by Omni Air took off from Dulles International Airport, Washington and at 22:51 UTC landed at Sofia Airport.

    On 28 October at 3:45 am EET N495AX departed from Sofia Airport and at 6:23 am EET landed in Erbil, Iraq.

    At 7:50 am EET N495AX departed from Erbil to Malta.

    Meanwhile, at 7:21 am EET the Estonian Nyx Air ES-NSH departed from Malta to Benghazi.

    ES-NSH departed from Benghazi to Malta and at 10:50 am EET the aircraft landed at Luqa Airport, Malta.

    An hour later, at 11:56 am EET N495AX landed in Malta from Erbil.

    Few minutes later, the Estonian plane ES-NSH took off back to Benghazi.

    After ES-NSH took off for Benghazi N495AX departed for Sofia at 1 pm EET.

    Passengers from Erbil to Benghazi

    According to flight information, 17 passengers from Erbil were transported by Omni Air N495AX to Malta from where they were transferred to Benghazi by Nyx Air ES-NSH.

    Passengers from Benghazi to Sofia

    23 passengers from Benghazi were transported by Nyx Air ES-NSH to Malta from where they were transferred to Sofia by Omni Air N495AX, information from Sofia Airport reveals. The two planes exchanged passengers.

    N495AX departed back to Washington from Sofia and landed at Dulles Airport at 00:54 UTC on 29 October.

    Although the US Army does not officially operate in Benghazi, the number of flights between Benghazi and Washington has risen since June, according to an investigative report published by The Times.

    Military flights with special status to Sofia and Bucharest

    Omni Air has performed a number of flights to Bulgaria and Romania over the last few months, flight data shows. The air company has been contracted by the US Transportation Command to transport passengers and cargo for the Pentagon, according to information from the US Federal contracts registry.  These flights are military flights with a special status operated by civil aircraft – MARSA flights.

    Omni Air N495AX at Bucharest Airport on 25 September 2020. Source: jetphotos
    Omni Air N648AX landing at Sofia Airport on 3 June 2020. Source: jetphotos

    Flights

    28 October 2020

    Omni Air N495AX Washington-Sofia-Erbil-Malta-Sofia

    Nyx Air ES-NSH Malta-Benghazi-Malta-Benghazi

    18 November 2020

    Omni Air N495AX Washington-Sofia-Erbil-Malta-Sofia

    Nyx Air ES-NSH Malta-Benghazi-Malta-Benghazi

    22 November 2020

    Omni Air N441AX Washington-Sofia-Erbil-Malta-Sofia

    Nyx Air ES-NSH Malta-Benghazi-Malta-Benghazi

    9 December 2020

    Omni Air N423AX Washington-Sofia-Erbil-Malta-Sofia

    Nyx Air ES-NSH Malta-Benghazi-Malta-Benghazi

    21 December 2020

    Omni Air N495AX Washington-Sofia-Erbil-Malta-Sofia

    Nyx Air ES-NSH Malta-Benghazi-Malta-Benghazi

    20 January 2021

    Omni Air N423AX Washington-Sofia-Erbil-Malta-Sofia

    Nyx Air ES-NSH Malta-Benghazi-Malta-Benghazi

    US Secretary of Defense Mark Epster has already announced that the US will further expand its defense cooperation with Bulgaria and Romania. It is likely that such plans include the urgent transfer of military contractors from war zones to Europe.

    This article was originally published at Arms Watch.

    If you have more information or wish to send me your recommendations, please contact me at dilyana@armswatch.com. I am an independent investigative journalist and do not work for governments or corporations. If you want to support my work, please go to the Donation page or Become Volunteer. Thank you!

     

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