The issue of presidential jets has come up strongly in the last few days following an allegation by North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo flew a chartered flight on a trip abroad which cost the taxpayer $14,000 per hour.
For Ablakwa, it is unacceptable that Ghana has a functional presidential jet but the president continues unjustifiably to opt for lavish jets for his foreign travels. The lawmaker has subsequently made a rallying call that a national policy on presidential travels be adopted.
Those in support of the decision to charter flights have pointed to the ultimate security and safety of the president. The current jet is known as the Falcon 900 EX-Easy aircraft.
Falcon 900 EX-Easy aircraft
The current and fourth presidential jet was ordered in 2008 by then President John Agyekum Kufuor , its documentation arrived in Parliament in March 2008 with the then government placing an order for two of the jets – the Falcon 900 EX-Easy aircraft and a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ).
The two aircrafts were to cost in the region of 105 million dollars but the current Falcon alone cost over 37 million dollars.
When the Mills government took office, it cancelled request for one of the jets, the BBJ, at the time the president argued that Ghana needed one jet citing the need for prudence in government spending.
The third presidential jet was brought in by President Jerry John Rawlings, the Gulfstream GIII. It was bought from the Americans and arrived in 1998.
Its purchase generated controversy and then opposition Kufuor refused to use it opting for commercial flights till the current one was purchased. Kufuor sold the Gulfstream in 2006.
The second presidential jet was acquired by General Acheampong in 1976. That is the Dutch-made Fokker 28.
Maiden jet DH125
Our first presidential jet was the DH125 acquired in 1962 by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who used it till he was ousted in the 24th February, 1966 coup.