Polish government planes old and shabby – mass media

Airplanes used by Polish authorities are mostly old Soviet-made craft in poor technical condition, Polish mass media note.

The tragic death of top officials flying to Russia to commemorate the victims of the Katyn mass killing prompted the media in Poland to once again talk about the dilapidated state of the aircraft used by the presidential administration.

The Tupolev-154 craft used in this flight was made in 1990, and had been in use for almost 20 years. It had encountered technical problems earlier. In 2009, both presidential Tu-154s failed to function, and Lech Kaczynski had to take a regular passenger flight to New York. One of the planes underwent a long-term repair in Russia, but broke down just after returning to Warsaw. The other Tu-154M was in the repair workshop until November last year.

In December 2008, the presidential plane was disabled by -20C temperatures in Mongolia during a visit, and the Polish head of state had to take a charter to Tokyo, arriving eight hours later than scheduled.

In October 2008, Kaczynski had to book a charter for Brussels. At the time, the head of Prime Minister Tusk’s administration refused the president his right to use the plane to attend an EU summit. A charter cost around US$60,000.