In the Spring of 1997 I bought a ticket from Asmara to Djibouti on Ethiopian Airlines. Somehow I was allowed to have only a half hour stop over in Addis, and as a result of a 45 minute delay in departure from Asmara, missed my onward connection. ET put me on a Djibouti Airlines flight two days later (their own next sceduled service was not for several more days) which I had to take because the visa ET had aranged for me was only valid for two days! It was a scarry experience, let me tell you! I've become a lot more interested in aviation since that flight and I am hoping that someone out there can help me solve one of the key bits of information I lack.
The plane we flew on had been whitewashed, although not very effectively, because Belavia titles were clearly legible underneath. The plane was definately a former Soviet model, and I now suspect it may have been an An-8. Here are some details that might anyone pinpoint the model type for me.
- It was a high-wing turbo jet, and I beleive had two engines.
- The floor of the cabin was made of plywood and there was no proper bagage compartment. Bagage was kept on two sets of shelves that were located between the cockpit and the passenger seats.
- The crew was caucasian and spoke either Russian, or some other slavic language.
I read recently that An-8's were originally cargo planes and that any passenger versions were later conversions. Also, that the CIS revoked the certificate for this model in 1997 and that since then they have been used mostly in Africa and the middle east. I suspect that a group of Belorussians or other CIS citizens bought the plane on the cheap at home, flew it to Djibouti, and hired out their services to Djibouti Airlines. I suspect they were needed because what I was told in Addis was that Air Djibouti had gone bankrupt and that Djibouti Airlines was a recent replacement (there is some confusion on this point on most lists of world airlines in my opinion). Can anyone correct me or fill in any details?