PM's office halts test flights of Israeli 'Air Force 1' plane

Flight tests for the plane to be used by Israel's prime minister and president during their trips abroad suspended to avoid criticism over cost of hundreds of millions of dollars

Itay Blumenthal, Itamar Eichner|Updated:
The Prime Minister's Office has ordered to ground all test flight of the newly acquired plane to be used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his successors as well as the president, until further notice.
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  • The plane currently being renovated by Israel Aerospace Industries near the Ben Gurion Airport has come under public criticism for its increasing cost.
    2 View gallery
     מטוס ראש הממשלה המריא הבוקר לטיסת המבחן השלישית
     מטוס ראש הממשלה המריא הבוקר לטיסת המבחן השלישית
    The prime minister's plane, the Israeli " Air Force 1"
    (Photo: Ido Wechtel)
    The Israeli "Air Force 1" is a Boeing 767 airplane that arrived in Israel in 2016. Since then, the aircraft has been fitted with numerous upgrades, such as advanced communications and defense systems.
    After years of delays, the plane's first test flight was conducted last November, and the last test flight took place on February 10.
    According to a source, the decision to halt work on the plane and cease any upcoming test flights came due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis which effected millions of citizens across Israel.
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    The prime minister's plane during a test flight
    The prime minister's plane during a test flight
    The prime minister's plane during a test flight
    (Photo: Avi Hai)
    The decision was made in order to avoid additional criticism of the project, which has already cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said in response that they are currently focused on the fight against the coronavirus.
    Israel Aerospace Industries refused to respond claiming privacy concerns.
    First published: 14:12, 08.03.20
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