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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 27 July 2021

One of the Government jets has broken down - what are ministers to do?

The Gulfstream IV, which Brian Lenihan said in 2010 should be scrapped, is out of action — leaving just one jet on duty.

A Gulfstream IV, similar to the Government jet.
A Gulfstream IV, similar to the Government jet.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE GOVERNMENT’S GULFSTREAM IV jet, one of two aircraft used for official business, has broken down — and the Department of Defence is now assessing options on what should be done about it.

A spokesperson for the Department confirmed that problems had been detected with the undercarriage of the plane during routine maintenance checks.

Discussions between officials and manufacturers the Gulf Aerospace Corporation are ongoing, the spokesperson said.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney is to bring a report to his ministerial colleagues on the problem, but the issue is not expected to be discussed at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting.

Coveney’s predecessor Alan Shatter said in 2012 that he had no intention of getting rid of either of the two Government jets – even though the previous government had made plans to dispose of one of them.

The two jets between them comprise the Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) – but the Gulfstream, which is 23 years old, was earmarked for abandonment in Brian Lenihan’s Budget of in December 2010.

The craft has racked up over 13,000 flying hours.

In a ministerial briefing document prepared shortly before Simon Coveney took over the portfolio, officials said that no provision had been made in the 2014 Budget process for its replacement “and the aircraft is to remain in service for so long as routine maintenance is sufficient”.

If any costly non-routine maintenance or major structural repair is required to be carried out, the aircraft will be grounded and a decision, on the future of the jet, will be required. There are currently no plans to sell this aircraft.

Replacing the jet with one of a similar age could cost around €4 million.

Previously: Ministers using government jets ‘like their own personal taxi service’

Read: ‘No plans’ to dispose of government jet – which last government said it would scrap

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