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  1. #1
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    BBJ: Berties Business Jet.

    Has bertie lost the plot? Replace the Lear because it has no toilet? Ditch the Kingair because they have a tendancy to go on fire? Don't use the casa because its too noisy?

    Where do I line up to kick him up the ass?


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  2. #2
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    This is the sanitised version of events.

    5. Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Taoiseach the procedures in place in his Department in respect of the use of the Government jets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3558/08]

    6. Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Taoiseach the guidelines operated by his Department in regard to requests for use of the Air Corps aircraft for ministerial or official travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4656/08]

    7. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach the role of his Department with regard to determining the use of Government aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4982/08]

    The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 7, inclusive, together.

    The procedures I outlined to the House previously in regard to use of the ministerial air transport service, MATS, most recently on 6 March 2007, have not changed. The position is that my approval is required prior to the service being used. Procedurally, requests for use of the service are made by Ministers’ private secretaries to my office and are dealt with, in the first instance, by the staff of my office.

    Requests are examined by my staff with regard to the need for and purpose of travel, the destination and other logistical details. Any necessary clarification or further information is sought at this point. All screened requests are then submitted to me for my consideration and approval, if deemed appropriate. Once approved, all operational matters are settled directly between the office of the Minister in question and the Department of Defence or, normally, the Air Corps.


    Deputy Enda Kenny: What transport is available? Is it one jet or two? Are the Beechcraft still available? I was in one a few times, which was an experience. What is the priority rating? Are there occasions when former Taoisigh can use the transport?


    The Taoiseach: We recommended it.


    Deputy Willie O’Dea: We will see what we can do.


    Deputy Enda Kenny: I was interested in the way the costings are computed. When the late Pope John Paul II died, the Vatican requested State participation and I had the honour of travelling to attend that funeral on the Government jet with a number of others and in the presence of the Taoiseach. I was astounded to read a few weeks later that I had cost the State €11,000 to travel as a passenger on the Government jet. How are these costs calculated? If the Minister, Deputy O’Dea, flies to Chad, is that done according to a pecking order or can he say “I need to get out there to see my troops and see that they are properly equipped.” What is the situation with regard to the would-be commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces being able to use Government transport to get out there to see how our troops are doing?


    Deputy Joan Burton: The programme for Government states that it will “require carbon offsetting of all official air travel in support of urban forests”. This is probably the Taoiseach’s last or second last day to take Questions. I wondered what an urban forest was but then I read in the newspapers this morning of a proposal for the Carlton cinema site with gardens and parks at roof level. Is this one of the Taoiseach’s last legacies that, as part of the programme for Government, we will have an urban forest atop a 20 or 30-storey building in O’Connell Street? An urban forest is referred to in the programme for Government as a way of carbon offsetting and I wonder what it is.


    Deputy Enda Kenny: I thought that was Gorse Hill.


    Deputy Joan Burton: Today’s edition of The Irish Times stated that a rooftop forest is included in the planning application for the new Carlton site. Has the Taoiseach worked this out?


    An Ceann Comhairle: I doubt the Government jet will be taking off from it. I call Deputy Ó Caoláin.


    Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: I will keep it simple. Given that the Taoiseach has proven the old Irish piseog to be false that lightning never strikes twice in the one place, has he any alternative intentions of making his way to Washington?


    Deputy Enda Kenny: Perhaps on the Queen Mary.


    The Taoiseach: In reply to Deputy Kenny on what aircraft are available, the Gulfstream IV jet is still in operation. That was acquired in 1991 and all of my colleagues know my views on it. The aircraft is 16 years old and has flown more than 11,000 hours. I am told there is not an aircraft in the world, or the Third World, that has flown that number of hours.


    Deputy P. J. Sheehan: Is it a bundle of scrap?


    Deputy Dick Roche: We cannot sell it for scrap.


    The Taoiseach: My colleagues know what I believe is the alternative to it but I do not think it is a great idea for it to go on and on.

    The Learjet, which we bought at the beginning of the Presidency in 2004, was a replacement for the Beechcraft Kingair and provides a service for short and medium haul flights. It has proven extremely reliable and has been used on the European missions. It has its faults because one cannot stand up-----


    Deputy Dick Roche: Even I cannot stand up in it.


    The Taoiseach: -----and it does not have a toilet but it gets from A to B for which I have been very grateful many times.

    Following two minor fires I do not believe the Beechcraft has been used much in recent times.


    Deputy Phil Hogan: That is not too bad.


    The Taoiseach: The CASA is used now and again and if one has earmuffs on that is very useful, but the aircraft are all very useful. The one aspect of them that is perfect is the staff. I thank all of the staff who fly them all. As to whether they could be improved, that would be a good idea for the next Taoiseach.


    Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: How is the Taoiseach travelling to Brussels? Is it with Ryanair?
    http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate...age=1&Ex=H3#H3


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    Has bertie lost the plot? Replace the Lear because it has no toilet? Ditch the Kingair because they have a tendancy to go on fire? Don't use the casa because its too noisy?
    He didn't say any of that?

    My only problem would be the assertion that there's not a plane in the world with more hours on it than the G-IV

    Also Burton did a wonderful job of getting Ahern out of answering a pertinent question RE: how the Gulfstream can be utilised by the Army. What a clown.

  4. #4
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    The dail transcripts are a watered down version of what really happened.


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  5. #5
    Commandant
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    Bertie was misinformed about the age of aircraft, or chose to misunderstand his briefing. For example, this USAF RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft entered service in 1962 and on March 12th last it clocked up its 50,000th flying hour during a mission over Afghanistan.


  6. #6
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    He seems to have forgotten that
    (a) the casa was not bought to serve as his personal transport. Its recent upgrade did not include extra luxury furnishings for ministers.
    (b) when he decided they needed a second government jet, he should have specified a toilet. Even the Defender has a toilet.
    (c) The Kingair entered service when he still had a wife, a bank account, an anorak and black hair.


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  7. #7
    criodan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    (c) The Kingair entered service when he still had a wife, a bank account, an anorak and black hair.

  8. #8
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    When he referred to hours flown, i think he meant that no other G-IV has accumulated as many hours, though he could be wrong there also?

  9. #9
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    Ha! I entered service on the King Air when I had hair, no belly, a bank account and no wife and one issue anorak! LOL
    regards
    GttC

  10. #10
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilatus View Post
    When he referred to hours flown, i think he meant that no other G-IV has accumulated as many hours, though he could be wrong there also?
    How does he know? Maybe he overheard one of the crew mentioning how the aircraft had more hours than any other Air Corps aircraft, and assumed they meant every aircraft ever....


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  11. #11
    The reckless engineer worldwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    How does he know? Maybe he overheard one of the crew mentioning how the aircraft had more hours than any other Air Corps aircraft, and assumed they meant every aircraft ever....
    Maybe he made it up?

    If we believed everything he said, he'd still have his job.
    Long term lurker

  12. #12
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    Surely, it'll be the BIFFO Business Jet?

    The G-IV wouldn't have so many hours on it if it wasn't doing cross-city hops to pick up Bertie at Collinstown instead of Baldonnel.

  13. #13
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    http://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com...ad.php?t=13913

    Looks like the ole Gulfstream is on its last legs. Would they settle for a Military transport, fitted out with cushions instead I wonder?


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  14. #14
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Concerns were subsequently raised that inspectors might not be willing to certify the aircraft as fit for flight, until the existing cabin was refitted.
    Would an aircraft really be grounded if for not having a plush interior!?

  15. #15
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    It would if the interior was shabby. To carry passengers, they can be quite strict with certification(as they found out with those rented Helis). Keep in mind that this interior was fitted out by the instructions of the Boss himself, who is no longer with us. Thats 5 Taoiseach ago, by my calculations.

    All the internal fittings have an impact on how the aircraft will preform, in the event of an emergency. Some to a greater extent than others. The fact that its a special order too may further impact this.
    I'm sure the spanner swingers of the Air Corps here will have a better idea of what the G4 is made of.


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  16. #16
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    If the seats are coming apart obviously thats a safety issue but if they are just a bit worn I doubt it is a serious safety issue.

  17. #17
    Colonel pmtts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    Has bertie lost the plot? Replace the Lear because it has no toilet?
    Odd considering a HS 125 is far smaller and is equipped with a toilet.

  18. #18
    Commandant Jetjock's Avatar
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    Huge difference in cabin dimensions. The HS125 has a "walk in" cabin, the Lear has a "crawl in" cabin. It is surprisingly cramped. The HS has a max take off weight 3 metric tons greater than the Lear.

  19. #19
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    The Four(skin's) interior, decorated with embossed islands of Ireland, was made to special order(allegedly by someone with very,very close connections to the Don), so it was a one-off.Gulfstream are quite right when they stated that it would be very expensive to recreate.If, as one of the newspaper pictures show, a small cabinet door is hanging off, then the techs are being absolute wasters in not fixing it.Given that I know that they work very hard in keeping it in top shape, then it smells to me that someone is engineering a desire to replace the aircraft, given that it has more flight hours than it's contemporaries.One of the papers today stated that the GIV used E5 Million in maintenance alone in 2007/08.Now, I suspect that this is lumping the fuel and other sundry consumables into the actual cost of servicing, which wouldn't cost that much unless you changed the engines.I guess the GIV will, in time honoured fashion,be sold off for small money and a replacement will be found.
    regards
    GttC

  20. #20
    Tim Horgan Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Did you include chocolates and plonk in your consumables costs?


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  21. #21
    Colonel johnny no stars's Avatar
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    perhaps if they're upset about it clocking up more hours than its contempories it shouldn't be used as a "drop me home" service by the government. In fact, why not have them use scheduled flights and trains instead? A lot of other countries send their heads of state around by scheduled flights, what's so special about our government?
    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

  22. #22
    Colonel pmtts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny no stars View Post
    perhaps if they're upset about it clocking up more hours than its contempories it shouldn't be used as a "drop me home" service by the government. In fact, why not have them use scheduled flights and trains instead? A lot of other countries send their heads of state around by scheduled flights
    Good point JNS.

    Over here 32 Squadron are flying the Royals less and less these days.

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    If the government had any brains they would use this oppurtunity to get rid of the gulf and buy an airbus , which airbus said would be sold to the don at a good price and have it fulfill the role of governemnt transport and also transport for the AC in a quick change configuration and come to an agreement to have it serviced along with aer lingus airbus' aircraft to save money.2birds 1 stone, it makes sense which is exactly why it wont happen.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilatus View Post
    If the government had any brains they would use this oppurtunity to get rid of the gulf and buy an airbus , which airbus said would be sold to the don at a good price and have it fulfill the role of governemnt transport and also transport for the AC in a quick change configuration and come to an agreement to have it serviced along with aer lingus airbus' aircraft to save money.2birds 1 stone, it makes sense which is exactly why it wont happen.
    Eh...

    Do you not remember the original "Bertie jet" debacle from a few years back?

    The government wanted a new and larger jet

    The media ridiculed them for it and there was public outcry, cue the "bertie jet" term, and such wonderfully witty statements as "air farce one".

    The BBJ and an Airbus A320 deriative were mooted, but in the end they were forced to get something a lot smaller.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2003/0226/jet.html

  25. #25
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    If they're spending €5 million a year keeping the Gulfstream flying, would it be more cost-effective to spend that money leasing something like the Airbus A319 - which could also be used as a long-range troop transport, as was mentioned earlier? Anyone know about leasing costs?

    Could be an A319ACJ on the market in the near future: apparently the one operated by the French Air Force isn't big enough for Sarkozy (and his ego), so they're buying a secondhand A330. The DF are well in with the French, aren't they......



    Just for comparison, this is what other countries do for VIP air transport: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_tra...and_government
    Last edited by easyrider; 5th November 2008 at 11:33.

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