Rare Venezuelan Air Force’s Chinese tactical cargo plane makes an appearance in Malta

On Sept. 17, a quite rare visitor made an appearance at Malta International Airport: a Venezuelan Air Force Shaanxi Y-8F-200.

Wearing new special markings on tail promoting the “Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas” (ALBA) the Y-8F (with radio callsign FAV0102) is one of the eight such plane purchased by Caracas in 2012.

The aircraft is a Chinese development of the Soviet Antonov An-12 tactical transport plane assigned to the Grupo Aéreo de Transporte No.6 based at the Base Aérea El Libertador at Palo Negro.

The reason of the Venezuela Air Force plane’s unusual stopover in the middle of Mediterranean Sea is still unknown.


Image credit: Malcolm Bezzina


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. David, this a/c is probably carrying supplies sent by the Venezuelan dictatorship disguised as a democracy to Syria, and who knows what else. Al-Assad can count with very few friends after his years of murder, among them the thugs who have taken over Venezuela and led it to ruin. A socialist member of the Venezuelan parliament is there claiming to be fighting for Bashar while they hide him some where in Damascus.I truly hope that after the Syrians get rid of him the same thing happens in Venezuela.

  2. Thank you for bring us so many up-to-date news of military aviation. However, it’s my fist time to find that China is categorized as Rogue States with Syria and North Korea. I wonder if you have any references, or it is just because of your political prejudice against China and Chinese people. I think no one will feel happy if their mother country is described as a Rogue State by others. Sorry for the irrelevant comment.

    • Hi Yanagi,

      it’s only a matter of category on the blog. Rogue States are those believed to be a threat to world peace (at least in the U.S.). Even if China and Russia are not “officially” rogue states, they are America’s opponents and as such, included in the category. Nothing to do with prejudice.

    • Humanitarian? Do you call humanitarian propping up the butcher al-Assad who gasses his own people? Is it humanitarian only to help his supporters? Do you know how much damage both Syria and Venezuelan governments have done to their own people? Stop playing the humanitarian violin FPOP, the really humanitarian thing would be to worry about true development and democracy. Both dictators Maduro in Venezuela and Al-Assad in Syria do the exact opposite. And this Chinese hardware is crappy, bought because of politics….the K8 trainers bought by Venezuela are going down like flies.

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