Slovenia Would Rent Falcon to NATO
Defence Minister Roman Jakič believes that by registering the Falcon jet as a military aircraft and making it available to NATO and the EU, Slovenia would save a lot of money. By being parked in a hangar, it costs the taxpayers EUR 500,000 a year, he said today.
Offering the jet for military transportation would save the country EUR 70,000, while additional EUR 120,000 would be saved if it was maintained by Slovenian teams, said the minister.
Jakič spoke to the press during his visit to Koper on Monday to further explain a solution to the use of the jet he announced in an interview with the STA.
He told the STA yesterday he would fly with the Dessault Falcon 2000 Ex to visit Slovenian soldiers abroad, encouraging the president and prime minister to use it for trips abroad as well.
He explained today that the jet had been integrated into the system of exchange among EU and NATO members for special transportation and for the transport of state officials.
"Slovenia is currently using transportation capabilities of its NATO and EU partners, but could start offering the jet for similar use."
He believes Slovenian state officials could use it as well. And when the plane is not booked, it could be offered for commercial use.
But before the jet finally takes off from Ljubljana Airport in June or this autumn at the latest, pilots would need to complete additional training, Jakič said.
He still hopes a buyer might appear. "Given that we cannot sell it at the moment, we need to use it".
The government has made several attempts to sell the jet following a controversy over its price and extravagance.
After last year's last failed attempt of the Agency for Civil Aviation to sell it, the Falcon returned to the Defence Ministry.
Commenting on Jakič's solution, ex-Defence Minister Aleš Hojs said today that a decision to offer the jet for military exchange had been taken by the Janez Janša government on his own proposal in November 2012.