Business Standard

New Zealand PM's plane so prone to breakdowns he took backup on China visit

New Zealand's aging air force fleet has a track record of stranding politicians due to mechanical problems

Chris Hipkins (Photo: Bloomberg)

Chris Hipkins (Photo: Bloomberg)

Bloomberg
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins (pictured) took two air force jets with him on a trip to China in case the one he was traveling in broke down.

Hipkins flew to Beijing on Sunday in a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757, leading a delegation of company executives in the hope of expanding trade with his nation’s biggest export market. A second airforce 757 accompanied the first as far as Manila in the Philippines, acting as a backup in case of any mechanical problems, the Prime Minister’s office said Monday in Wellington.

Given the importance of the trip and the long distance involved, “it was considered that a backup aircraft was justified to ensure the success of the mission to our largest trade partner,” a spokesperson said. “The 757s are around 30 years old, are nearing the end of their economic lives, and are due for replacement between 2028 and 2030.”

Opposition parties said the need to take a second aircraft was an environmental embarrassment to the country and illustrated the poor state of its defense force. New Zealand’s aging air force fleet has a track record of stranding politicians due to mechanical problems.
Topics : New Zealand

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Jun 26 2023 | 10:27 PM IST

Explore News