Chinese plane sighted in Davao same as first: Lorenzana

MANILA — The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ilyushin-76 turbofan strategic airlifter sighted by aviation enthusiasts in Davao City’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport Saturday is the same aircraft that landed and refueled there last June 8.

This was confirmed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in a text message to reporters Saturday.

“Yes, we know about it and it has prior clearance to land. It is the same plane that landed (and refueled) in Davao (before heading for) New Zealand last June 8,” he added.

An ABS-CBN report quoted Tactical Operations Group 11 of the Philippine Air Force as saying that the Chinese plane arrived at the airport at around 12:18 p.m. and left at 12:59 p.m.

The Ilyushin-76 is a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Soviet Union’s Ilyushin design bureau.

It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967, as a replacement for the Antonov An-12. It was designed to deliver heavy machinery to remote, poorly served areas. PNA