Oz Government takes record 30-mn dollars worth of VIP flights
Melbourne, June 18 (ANI): The Kevin Rudd Government has smashed the annual record for VIP jet flights, handing taxpayers a three million dollars bill in the process.
New figures show VIP aircraft activity last year was up to 10 per cent more than the previous year, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Government documents say the increase was due solely to extra use by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
Labor was highly critical of former Prime Minister John Howard's use of the RAAF-run planes to travel from his home in Sydney to his office in Canberra but in the past year it has pushed "VIP Air" to new heights.
It costs more than 30 million dollars a year to operate two Boeing 737s and four smaller 10-seat Challenger 604 planes. A 10 per cent jump generates an addition three million dollars cost to taxpayers.
Flown by the RAAF's No.34 Squadron at Fairbairn base in Canberra, the jets ferry the Governor-General, Prime Minister, ministers, Opposition MPs, officers and visiting dignitaries around the nation and the world.
Rudd, who uses the planes more than anyone else, got into hot water earlier this year when The Daily Telegraph revealed he had abused a flight attendant over the lack of food on a flight from Port Moresby.
Since his election in November 2007, Rudd - labelled Kevin 747 for his frequent flights - has flown VIP Air to countries including Malaysia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Niue, Peru, New Zealand and Singapore. (ANI)