WARSAW, Poland – The first of five Western-made jet aircraft acquired by Poland to transport Polish government officials arrived in the country on Wednesday.
A U.S.-made Gulfstream G550 capable of carrying 19 people landed at the military section part of Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport to an official welcome and a Catholic blessing.
For over two decades, consecutive governments postponed the costly purchase of VIP planes while the Soviet-made fleet inherited from the communist era was aging and developing technical problems.
In 1999, a government plane carrying the Senate speaker made an emergency landing in the Saudi Arabian desert. There were other incidents.
The current government decided to buy two Gulfstream G550 and three Boeing 737 jets.
The ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is sensitive to air travel safety because his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski was killed in a 2010 plane crash. The crash in Russia was not blamed on any technical issues.
Since the crash, state officials travelled by chartering regular flights of the Polish LOT airline or on military helicopters and transport planes.