Presidential planes: Belarus inferior to Russia, but beats Ukraine

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Alyaksandr Lukashenka was asked why he needed such an expensive plane, during the press-conference on January 15. Radio Liberty's journalist asked the question.

Presidential Boeing bedroom

The exclusively designed
Boeing 767-32K(ER), which used to belong to Turkmenbashi, was bought for the
Belarusian leader. There was non-confirmed information in the media that its
starting price was $124 million.

During the
press-conference, the President announced another sum: less than $ 100 million.

Alyaksandr
Lukashenka:

"The new jet like this costs $250-300 million, for the state leader. Jets
are never cheap. You should know, that a presidential jet is normally changed
every 3-5 years. We bought the jet from Turkmenistan in order to save money, as
the new one would have costed us 2,5 times more than the Turkmen side sold
us."

The exclusive Boeing
737-8EV(BBJ2) has been parked in the National Airport since 2004. According to
some data, the price for it was no less than $100 million.  

Photo by Martsel Hol

The plane which used to be
called "presidential" in the journalistic circles is just 11 years
old. The only problem is long distances. It is impossible to get to, for
example, Latin America, by one attempt. The plane needs refueling. Therefore,
there came the need for Turkmenbashi's Boeing.

We asked what planes the
Presidents of neighbouring countries have.

Russia's President uses
home Il-96 produced in 2004. However, the interior design of the plane is posh:
gold-plate sanitary ware, precious stones at the walls, designer furniture.
There is also the equipment to control the armed forces aboard. The price for
the plane, according to some calculations, reaches $300 million.

According to official
information, President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich uses Airbus А-319-115-XCJ (which is $86 million,
less than the Belarusian colleague's). Presidents of many other countries, like
France, Brazil, Germany, have such planes.

However, there are rumours
that the Ukrainian President is going to buy a more expensive plane. Head of
Victor Yanukovich's press-center Darya Chapak neither confirmed nor refuted
this information to Euroradio.

Assistant of the Rada
member Victor Yanukovich-junior has never been inside the presidential jet.

Assistant Denys: "As for the people's
deputy Victor Yanukovich-junior, he doesn't have a personal jet. Moreover, he
usually flies business-class".



Still, we were the most
impressed by our Baltic neighbours' attitude to presidential planes.

"There's no
special plane for the President in Latvia
, - they tell us in the office of Latvian
President Andris Bērziņš. - We cannot tell you which
planes the President use. It depends on the destination country".

Andris
Bērziņš uses usual commercial airlines, he flies together with ordinary
passengers. In case of foreign trips, a whole plane is rented.

"There's no
special presidential plane in the country", -
the press-center of the Lithuanian President's
office has told Euroradio. 

Dalia Grybauskaitė, the same as Latvian President, prefers ordinary passenger
jets. 

After the Smalensk tragedy
when President Kaczynski died, all high-level officials of Poland use the
planes of the local air company LOT.