It all comes down to size of your… plane

LazyLion

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http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/it-all-comes-down-to-size-of-your-plane-1.1184484

Size evidently matters when it comes to the intercontinental jets that carry kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers on official business abroad.
If you scan the to-scale illustrations of such aircraft, you will get a rough sense of how nations rank in the world, or at least how they think they should.
US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are all out there in front, at 70m of aircraft each, all flying Boeing 747s or customised variations.
The US’s Air Force One is the industry standard, with its sophisticated logistical and security facilities, including a mini “White House” for the president, with an office from which he can address the nation while flying, plus comfortable sleeping quarters, medical clinic and so on.
When India upgraded its prime minister’s intercontinental transport in 2003 from a standard 747 hired from the national carrier Air India to the dedicated 747-400, it was very much inspired by Air Force One, according to India media commentators.
They say Air India One now also has jamming devices, chaff dispensers, a medical room, secure communication facilities, in-flight refuelling capabilities and other electronic warfare devices.
Indian officials suggest that some journalistic licence has been taken here and that Singh still flies in an Air India 747-400 hired from the airline’s normal fleet, configured especially for his purposes, with meeting and sleeping quarters and so on – but reconfigured afterwards for normal commercial passenger flights.
Hu’s travel arrangements differ, in that his 747s remain permanently with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force fleet.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is just a nose behind the three 747s in his Ilyushin Il-96-300PU, length 68m, range 15 000km reportedly fitted out in Britain at an extra cost of about £10 million (R131m), with gold taps, silk curtains and the like.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy travels in a specially converted Airbus A330-223, length 58.8m, range 15 400km.
Though the French media have taken the usual digs at Sarkozy for the alleged pretentiousness and extravagance of this largish plane, it is quite an old machine, bought from an airline.
The big planes flown by Hu, Singh and Medvedev suggest that the challenge from the major emerging economies – now grouped as Brics, the Brazil, Russia, India, China and now South Africa forum – to the Western powers for global dominance is also largely reflected in the air.
Brazil, though, is rather an exception to this rule. President Dilma Rousseff, elected last year, travels in an Airbus A-319-CJ, the corporate jet version of the A-319 commercial passenger aircraft.
At 33.8m it falls well short of the other Brics aircraft, though it is much the same size as the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) which President Jacob Zuma now flies – but which he finds inadequate, according to the Defence Department.
Upgrading to something larger than a BBJ, though, would also put Zuma ahead of Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce and Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who fly in dedicated BBJs operated by the Royal Australian Air Force.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan also flies a BBJ.
One conspicuous absentee from this aerial competition is Britain.
Because of drastic austerity measures and a national aversion to ostentation by its leader, the UK has no dedicated intercontinental air transport for Queen Elizabeth or Prime Minister David Cameron.
They have to make do with scheduled, commercial flights or charter aircraft, and even these prompt howls of “extravagance” from the political opposition and the press.
The Nordic countries are generally just as modest. Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja visited South Africa two years ago on regular commercial flights.
Zuma is among the front runners in this fleet of leaders, travelling neck and neck with Gillard (with a gross domestic product about 3.4 times South Africa’s) and Rousseff of Brazil (GDP about 5.7 times larger) and also wing tip to wing tip with Jonathan, with a GDP a little more than half South Africa’s.
On the international pretension index, which measures size of presidential jets relative to GDP, the UK, with no such dedicated aircraft, scores an award-winning zero; the US, despite Air Force One, a very low 4.8; Brazil also a very low 6; China a modest 12, Australia a less modest 27; India a rather presumptuous 44 (though with a big discount for only leasing the planes); and South Africa a worryingly conceited 92 – though much less so than Nigeria’s rather pompous 166.
And that ranking will only get worse if South Africa does acquire a bigger presidential jet or two, as defence spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya has said the ministry is planning to do. “The new, bigger plane is going to be responsible for longer international trips such as (to) Europe and America.
“The current one (the Boeing Business Jet) will be used mainly for domestic regional trips, so that when the one is resting, we make use of the other one,” he was quoted as saying.
The BBJ has a range of more than 11 000km, so one wonders where Zuma is planning to travel with the larger aircraft.
Media have speculated that two Boeing 767-300 ERs, which would cost about $164m (R1.36 billion) each, are on the shopping list.
That would push the total price tag well beyond the R1.6bn the Defence Ministry has reportedly budgeted for the upgrade, though leasing is evidently an option.
Yet the range of the 767 is pretty much the same as the BBJ’s, so that would defeat the official reason for laying out a billion-plus to upgrade.
Or is it really just another case of size mattering?
At 54.9m in length, the 767 would put Zuma well ahead of that upstart Jonathan (who’s been voting funny on the UN Security Council and elsewhere lately) and right up there in formation with the likes of Sarkozy, useful to keep an eye on him, especially when he’s in Africa.
Yes, it would also boost our pretension index to 155, just behind Nigeria’s. But that’s in purely economic terms.
In political terms the upgrade would do no more than express our rightful place as the continent’s superpower and a major emerging player, surely? It’s important to look the part, not so? - The Star

This speaks volumes about the prorities and ego of our "esteemed" president. :mad:
 

blunomore

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The BBJ has a range of more than 11 000km, so one wonders where Zuma is planning to travel with the larger aircraft.

As far away as possible?
 

ToxicBunny

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This pisses on my battery really..

I have an issue with our president having a damn dedicated plane in the first place.. but now to be replacing it with a bigger one for no other reason that to show off your presidential-jet-penis is infuriating.
 

ToxicBunny

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Maybe SANTACO should offer him one of their planes....

The Taxi of the skies......
 

ponder

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Wait until Zumatello get's a tour of a Airbus A380, I think he'll order one. After all he needs space for all those wives of his.
 

Guantanamo

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He should set a precedent and fly SAA like the Norwegian PM and King and UK PM and Queen. Much safer in a commercial plane than a private one, it saves the state huge amounts of money and expenditures and looks good from a PR perspective.
 

KhoisanX

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Why don't we get Zuma a helicopter?

He already gets to use an Oryx.

They should just fly commercially whenever possibly, preferably economy class.(Wishful thinking)

Otherwise I think the best solution is just to buy a fleet of A330 MRTTs, then the airforce gets a much needed tanker/transport/EW/etc. platform and JZ and gets a big jet to fly in when commercial flights are not an option. Otherwise a secondhand A340-200 can probably be bought quite cheaply.
 
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knobshine

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If he gets his own plane it just means you can blow it up without too many innocent casualties.
 

hungrybeaver

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I'm of the opinion that the President should have a plane.

However the size, cost etc is debatable.
 
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