EUR 8 million government jet must be replaced “at the latest” by the end of 2024
The government jet used to fly the Taoiseach, ministers and president is aging and will need to be replaced “by the end of next year at the latest”.
The Learjet is becoming “less reliable” and will need to be replaced by 2024, Tánaiste and Defense Minister Micheál Martin have been told by his officials.
In recent years there have been many problems with the Learjet which have bothered traveling clergy.
The government must now decide whether to replace it with a new million-euro aircraft.
The jet, which has sold for $8 million since it was bought
The Lear LR45 is operated by the Air Corps and costs an average of €3,790 per hour.
Fianna Fáil’s leader must decide whether to replace or scrap the jet during his tenure as minister.
“Of course, as the Learjet has aged, it has become less reliable, the Air Corps estimates (based on current maintenance data, etc.) that the aircraft will need to be replaced no later than 2024,” reads a briefing document for Mr. Martin.
It can carry seven passengers and operate short and medium haul routes to the UK and Europe
High-ranking politicians often use the jet instead of scheduled flights to keep their busy schedules under control.
It can carry seven passengers and operate short and medium haul routes to the UK and Europe.
Last year, then-Defense Secretary Simon Coveney announced that a high-level group of officials had been set up to explore options for the future of the Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS), which flies the President, the Taoiseach and ministers on government aircraft.
The group also looked at how the service could be used to fly top politicians internationally, as the Learjet is not currently used for long-haul flights.
A Strategic Valuation Report and Preliminary Business Case was prepared, which includes a “Financial Valuation and Economic Valuation” performed by PwC in accordance with documents prepared for Mr. Martin.
Last September, while he was Taoiseach, Mr Martin saw his Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to New York had to turn back shortly after take-off due to a bird strike. As a result, he missed a meeting with US President Joe Biden.
Officials use commercial airlines for long-haul flights as the Learjet is deemed unsuitable. Mr Martin’s own officials previously wanted to charter a plane when he traveled to Paris because they didn’t think the jet would be airworthy.
A Department of Defense spokesman said at the time that problems with the Learjet’s reliability meant it was only available 29 percent of the days in the first five months of 2022.
Mr Coveney and his officers were forced to make an emergency landing on their trip to Turkey in 2021 after the jet experienced a technical problem.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/8m-government-jet-must-be-replaced-at-the-end-of-2024-at-the-latest-42311914.html EUR 8 million government jet must be replaced “at the latest” by the end of 2024