Cham Wings Airlines was the first private airline licensed in Syria, ending the six-decade monopoly of Syrianair, the state-owned airline. It is also the only private airline currently operating in the country. Although the Shammout Group formally owns Cham Wings, many analysts believe Rami Makhlouf, President Bashar Al-Assad’s cousin, was behind its establishment.
After the start of the 2011 conflict, Cham Wings’ activities came to a halt before resuming in 2014. Since then, the company has been embroiled in several controversies and under the weight of sanctions for transporting weapons and equipment for the Syrian regime and facilitating the trafficking of migrants to Belarus and, allegedly, to Libya.
The Syria Report provides an overview of Cham Wings Airlines in this profile. The first section covers the carrier’s activities since its establishment, the second section sheds light on the company’s management, and the third section details the controversies surrounding the airline in recent years.