Israeli ‘Air Force One’ on hold

Israel’s prime minister and president will have to continue travelling on state missions using a “regular” passenger aircraft belonging to one of the Israeli airlines.

These chartered flights were about to become history, if a plan to purchase a dedicated VIP aircraft for these official flights had been implemented.

The big demonstrations in Israel in recent weeks, in which the crowds demanded a major change in the government priorities affecting the cost of living, have put the VIP aircraft programme on hold.

A year ago, the Israeli ministry of finance issued the RFI that should have started the process aimed at selecting a dedicated VIP aircraft to fly the Israeli president and prime minister to visits in foreign countries.

Currently, these flights are performed by one of the Israeli airlines, and in the past by an Israeli air force 707.

The RFI included three options – a dedicated aircraft for these official flights, a dual-use aircraft that will be operated by an airline between the official flights, and a long-term agreement with an airline that would commit to adapting one of its aircraft to the required configuration at short notice.

Sources say that this is “not the right time” to make a decision, in spite of the fact that each chartered aircraft performing the state flights undergoes a “mini conversion”, mainly of the passengers cabin, and that is reflected in the bill the airline that is selected by a tender submits to the relevant ministry.

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