London, July 31 (ANI): Nicolas Sarkozy will soon be travelling in real Presidential luxury in his own America's Air Force One-like aircraft, dubbed "Air Sarko One".
The 150-million-pound aircraft complete with bedroom, air filter system would allow the French President to smoke cigars, and even take a shower.
The specially upholstered Airbus A330-200, has just been taken on its first test flight in Bordeaux, southwestern France, with all internal fittings due for completion by October.
The plane will also include a 12-man meeting room, 60 business class seats, top-grade encrypted communications systems, a reinforced fuselage and missile decoy system.
Presidential air force officials have dubbed it "Air Carla One" after his supermodel wife Carla Bruni.
The French leader is understood to have long envied the luxurious conditions in which Barack Obama, the US President flies across the world in his Boeing 747-200B, and has complained that his two smaller Airbus A319s lacked the necessary presidential stature.
"Air Sarko One" as the plane has been dubbed, will have a wingspan a good two feet longer than the US model.
But Sarkozy's big purchase and refit of the jet from tourist airline Air Caraibes has raised eyebrows as the winds of austerity blow through Europe and other leaders are reining in their perks.
Sarkozy has come under criticism for the new plane weeks after ordering ministers to cut spending and following a string of embarrassing expenses scandals.
However, his government yesterday rebutted claims that the new presidential plane was an extravagance.
"There is nothing ostentatious, simply a desire to have equipment fitting for the world's fifth power," the Telegraph quoted Luc Chatel, the government spokesman, as saying.
He has argued that the cost of new presidential jet will be offset by the sale of two smaller A319s currently used.
However, the two medium-range jets are only expected to fetch around 20 million euros. (ANI)