Polish defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak has announced plans to purchase two VIP transport aircraft, each to be capable of carrying a maximum of 12-14 passengers.
Unlike previous attempts to meet national requirements by seeking to charter aircraft, the new request calls for the direct purchase of jets to be assigned to the Polish air force and operated by its personnel.
“We want to buy these aircraft next year,” Siemoniak says. A range of around 4,300nm (7,960km) is required when carrying eight passengers, he adds – approximately the distance from Warsaw to New York.
Two earlier efforts to establish charter agreements failed after the defence ministry received responses from just one and then two bidders. This led to its request to instead pursue an outright purchase.
Once introduced, the new aircraft will complement a pair of Embraer 175LRs chartered from LOT Polish Airlines since January, under an arrangement which will conclude by 31 December 2017. “Then we will see what next steps to be undertaken,” Siemoniak says.
Poland's search for a modern VIP capability stems from the April 2010 crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 transport which killed 96 people, including the nation's then-President, Lech Kaczyński.