Come Fly With Me

Michael Buble on renting a government jet

As PM Borut Pahor is trying to find his way out of the PR-minefield he wandered into by picking Dimitrij the Eternal as his aide (all the while reasuring everyone that everything is under control), The Prez inadvertantly sat on a firecracker of his own. Namely, it emerged that his office spent close to € 90.000 renting a jet for a two day trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina in mid-October. His office issued the statement saying that was the asking price and that there was little that could be done about it, considering the high level of the visit and the fact that the protocol demands that the President visit government of both entities as well as the federal government.

This week The Prez shot over to Checz Republic which is due to take over EU presidency on 1 January and spent additional € 30.000 on jet-rent, while the media compared that to € 15.000 PM Borut Pahor spent on his two day trip to Brussels. As a result, the Office of the President in a somewhat unprecedented move asked the Court of Audit to go over the procedure of rent-a-jet and the Office’s expenses in this matter. Apparently The Prez doesn’t want to be perceived as lavishly spending in the face of the recession.

Honestly, 120 k€ in a week seems a bit too much, but the last president who flew lightweight to Bosnia was Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski who was killed in a plane crash due to pilot error, bad equipment and even worse weather.

In the other hand, how come the PM spent € 15.000 on rent-a-jet when national carrier Adria Airways, operates a busy route from Ljubljana to Brussels, six times a day, seven days a week? If the PM wanted to set an example, he could have traveled business class on the 6.45 from Ljubljana International and still make the EU summit in plenty of time. Tickets start as low as € 700 on a weekday, even lower if you make it a weekend.

But I have the feeling that all this was actually leaked intentionally, with the sole aim of prepairing the public for the return of the attrociously expensive Falcon 2000EX which the Slovenian government under PM Tone Rop bought in 2003 with the deal being more or less negotiated in the fading moments of Janez Drnovšek’s premiership. At the time it was largely perceived as a misuse of public funds by an already over-pampered government.

Five years later, the government spending some 150 k€ in two months for air fares is perhaps betting that the public might look a little more favourably on the government having its own jet airplane instead of wasting more taxpayers’ money. Not that the plane doesn’t need maintaineance, but it could at least have its own callsign. Red Bull One?

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

19 thoughts on “Come Fly With Me”

  1. For a smaller country, Slovenia has a great airline (heck, we’re a huge country and we spawned Air Canada, *shudder*). It’d be great PR if the PM hopped on board.

    For 90,000 euros, you could probably harness a golden carriage to a team of unicorns and still have some change left over once you got to Bosnia. That kinda waste is appalling. Maybe he was taking a page out of the auto manufacturer CEOs playbook, you know the ones who flew to Washington on three private jets to beg for $$$ from the government since their companies are going bust.

  2. It’s shameful how they spend our money. I am starting to dislike Turk and I feel strongly against all the privileges our political “elite” is deeming appropriate for its services to this nation.

  3. Perhaps I should add that the price – although still very high – included fares for a charter flight of Türk’s 30-strong delegation.

    As far as I’m concerned I’m more comfortable with The Prez spending 90k and criss-crossing Bosnia safely, then I am with Pahor spending 15k on a routine flight to Brussels. I mean, the Prez will probably vitis Bosnia twice in his five-year term, while Pahor will go to Brussels twice a month.

  4. Wouldn’t want the prez risking the roads in Bosnia, true! 😉 (though if you mean safely, as in avoiding the fate of the Macedonian PM, I don’t think Adria flies those scary twin-prop airplanes…strictly respectable Canadair planes if memory serves).

    But yes, the Brussels issue is the larger one and more potentially damaging to the public purse. A likely bid for a Redbull One indeed. 😉

  5. Canadian planes rock! Not like that american crap with wings 🙂

    And I agree, that Adria could have a presidential plane at its disposal which it could operate on other routes schedule permitting.

    As far as Brussels is concerned, you wouldn’t believe the shitload of taxpayers’ money spent on plane tickets.

  6. Good planes come from Canada, eh? That’s music to my ears. We’ve got a better airforce too! 😉

    I did a presentation on Bombardier in grade school. Important for their aerospace work? Naw, they’re the Skidoo company! 😀

  7. I don’t know if it’s the right time and place to voice a demand here, but ever since Wizzair stopped flying to Brnik, there hasn’t been a budget airline route to LJ and it pisses me off. Unlike Pahor or The Prez, I don’t have a sizable budget to spend on my air travels to and from Slovenija. 🙁 Ryanair, what the hell are you waiting for??

  8. If it stays in the air and is capable of getting me to SLO in about two hours in reasonably compfortable circumstances and for what I consider to be a fair price, I don’t care whether it’s Ryanair, a locust horde, a bunch of golden eagles tied together, a flight of bumblebees or an Atlas rocket… :mrgreen:

  9. Hey there good people. I would like to draw this intriguing discussion of topic with a little question. I’m doing a questionnaire for Slovenes and I’m looking for the appropriate amounts to give as answer alternatives to the question, what is your household income?

    Like in this example from obamaland:
    Under $10,000
    $10,000 – $19,999
    $20,000 – $29,999
    $30,000 – $39,999
    $40,000 – $49,999
    $50,000 – $74,999
    $75,000 – $99,999
    $100,000 – $150,000
    Over $150,000

    I have been all over trying to find it out, but without any luck.. So, I turn to you political nerds who might know this for help. If you know, please let me know or point me in the right direction.

    Thanks for any/all help!

  10. Gandalf: If you’re not in a hurry I can copy-paste tomorrow the income ranges we use in our nationally representative sample surveys.

  11. pengovsky Says:
    As far as Brussels is concerned, you wouldn’t believe the shitload of taxpayers’ money spent on plane tickets.

    OK, I’ll bite!:)…I’ll probably choke on my saliva, but out of total curiosity and a masochistic tendency if you will, I’m hoping you have more info on the matter…

  12. @geekofriendly: according to this, 5,8 mil € was spent in 2007 on airfares alone, excluding rent-a-jet fees (additional 360.000 €). Most of thst was spent on LJU-BRU route. Bear in mind that was before Slovenia started its EU presidency.

  13. @Pengovsky
    tnx for the link, the numbers seem high, although it’d make all the difference in the world if they were backed up with some solid facts (actual number of flights, costs per flight, etc). Totally unrealistic of that happening anytime soon, but hey:)

  14. @ Gandalf: I’m sorry, I seriously forgot about my promise. 🙁 I sincerely hope it’s not too late now. So here it is… In omnibuses we used these:
    Up to € 580
    € 581 – € 730
    € 731 – € 870
    € 871 – € 1020
    € 1.021 – € 1.165
    € 1.166 – € 1.310
    € 1.311 – € 1.455
    € 1.456 – € 1.600
    € 1.601 – € 1.745
    € 1.746 – € 1.890
    € 1.891 – € 2.035
    € 2.036 – € 2.180
    € 2.181 – € 2.545
    € 2.546 – € 2.910
    € 2.911 – € 3.635
    € 3.636 – € 4.360
    More than € 4.360

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