Faulty luxury planes ferrying Oz VIP's living only on hope and prayer

Canberra, Jan 22 (ANI): The fleet of luxury planes that fly Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other VIPs in the country and abroad, has been reportedly facing mechanical faults, resulting in cancellation of flights.

According to news.com.au, despite costing taxpayers 60 million dollars a year, the five luxury planes used by Gillard, Governor-General Quentin Bryce and others, have experienced a number of equipment breakdowns while pilots have missed runways and flown off-track.

In November 2009, Defence Minister Stephen Smith had faced a mid-air emergency situation, and his jet was forced to land at Jakarta after instrument failure on a Singapore to Perth flight.

Weeks before Julia Gillard took over from Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia, the latter was also reportedly forced to abort his flight from Perth to Queensland at the last minute when an oil leak was found.ecret documents dated August 2009, obtained under Freedom of Information log, have records of at least 20 incidents involving the VIP fleet, the report said.

Several ministers have reportedly expressed anger after the two Boeing 737 and three Bombardier Challenger 604 planes that carry senior ministers, Governor-General Quentin Bryce and even the royal family during their Australian visits, suffered technical failures.

In February 2010, the Commanding Officer of Defence's 84 Wing, responsible for the VIP fleet, wrote that there had been "multiple individual" navigation failures involving the three smaller Challenger aircraft.

"I have some concerns that we seem to be having task delays/cancellations ... on an all too regular basis," he wrote. (ANI)

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