Martinelli will use his own airplane
PANAMÁ. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli will fly around the country in his private airplane, rather than the presidential plane...
PANAMÁ. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli will fly around the country in his private airplane, rather than the presidential plane, Rafael Bárcenas, the Director of Civil Aeronautics, confirmed Tuesday.
The presidential plane was made in 1969 and is still in operation. Yet according to Bárcenas, the manufacturing company no longer sends the specific spare parts to the local market. Due to this, the Authority of Civil Aeronautics had asked the Ministry of the Presidency for the authorization to remove the plane from circulation.
President Martinelli has said that no one is to use the presidential plane in the future.
“Someone's going to die in there soon," he said he believes.
Beyond saftey, cost has been another issue plaguing use of the plane. Bought by the government of Ernesto Perez Balladares in 1995, the Gulfstream II jet then cost $7.5 million. In the past year alone, $980,000 was spent on maintence, with the jet consuming 530 gallons of fuel per hour.