New presidential jet to be commissioned today

The presidential jet which became the subject of heated debate between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and then opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in 2008 will be formally outdoored by government Thursday.

Officials of the Ghana Armed Forces say they have taken delivery of the Falcon 900 and will commission it at a colourful ceremony later this afternoon.

The acquisition of the jet by the Kufuor administration attracted criticisms from the then opposition NDC who questioned the rationale for the plane at a time when critical sectors of the economy, such as health and education, were badly in need of funding.

The Falcon-900 will come to replace the Fokker 27 which has become known as the flying coffin.

The debate over the acquisition of a presidential jet began as far back as 2001 when the NPP assumed power.

President Kufuor refused to use a Gulf Stream Presidential jet acquired by the Rawlings administration after he (Kufuor) while in opposition questioned the circumstances under which that jet was acquired.

Having disposed off the Gulfstream, Mr Kufuor’s government in 2007 begun the process of acquiring the 37 million dollar Falcon 900 presidential jet and an Airbus for the Ghana Air Force.

When the purchase agreement for the jet came before Parliament in 2008, it became a subject of intense debate and the then Minority NDC argued that the $37 million to be spent on the jet could have been used to save the dire water crisis facing the country.

But the Kufuor government maintained the jet was absolutely necessary and proceeded with the process of acquiring it.

A release signed by Fl Lt Francisca Aholo of the Ghana Armed Forces Public Relations Directorate, said the Armed Forces had taken delivery of the 12 seater Falcon 900, spare parts and tools on behalf of the Ghana government.

The jet will be formally commissioned at the Jubilee Lounge of the Kotoka International Airport on Thursday.

Source: JFM

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