Air Force to keep using standby planes for Zuma

2012-01-25 13:37

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - The SA Air Force has stuck to its guns on the use of standby planes when President Jacob Zuma travels abroad.

"The SAAF will continue to act responsibly by providing a plan B with standby abroad, especially for time critical and very important missions," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Defending its decision charter two standby planes for Zuma's recent trip to the United States, the SAAF added: "[This will be done] to ensure the president's on time and [has] safe transportation to destinations."

Zuma attended a UN Security Council meeting two weeks ago. After this meeting, Zuma had to return to South Africa immediately for another "important commitment", SAAF said.

According to weekend media reports an SAA Boeing A340-200 shadowed Zuma's Boeing business jet Inkwazi as far as Las Palmas, Canary Islands, on Zuma's outbound leg to New York.

A second aircraft, a chartered Bombardier Global Express, was on standby in New York and followed the presidential jet back to South Africa at the conclusion of Zuma’s visit.

Avoid embarrassment

SAAF said its mandate was to ensure an efficient and safe flight service to the president and his deputy, to avoid any possible embarrassment to the country.

"Departure and arrival times for the entire mission were critically important and standby aircraft in South Africa simply would not have sufficed, taken into consideration the reaction time required over the long distance in this case, over-flight clearance etc."

There were fears the aircraft could have "unforeseen technical difficulties", it said.

The Inkwazi had been in Switzerland for several months for a major service. Upon its return to South Africa, it was used extensively for training flights to ensure all possible "snags" were fixed.

"Any slightest possible glitch had to be avoided and thus a plan B was put in place, albeit the standby aircraft."

The incident riled opposition parties and raised questions about the costs of such arrangements.

DA MP David Maynier said the arrangements were "mind boggling". He called on Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to explain the details of the flight arrangements, in which standby crews were also flown to Las Palmas, to Parliament’s defence committee.

On Wednesday, the SAAF said "fresh" crew were made available to take over in a bid to avoid pilot fatigue.

"The aircraft does not have a special rest area facility on board for standby crew and thus could not be accommodated on board," it said.

"A standby crew in South Africa would not have sufficed, due to critical time constraints and reaction time."
- SAPA
Read more on:    saaf  |  jacob zuma  |  military
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
218 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Food

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Receptionist

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Mpumalanga Personnel & Training Consultants
Up to R8 500 Per Month

Code 10 Driver

Cape Town
Dymasize (Pty) Ltd
R8 500 - R10 000 Per Month

Clerk

Cape Town
Mobile Recruitment
R9 000 - R12 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to network and share your ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and friends. Information overload is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.