Saturday, May 16, 2009

Polish government will lease planes for VIPs

After years of unsolved tenders and thousands of miles flown on the old and ailing Russian TU-154M that was often breaking down, Polish top politicians will finally switch to modern jets.

Polish government has decided to lease two Embraers 175 from LOT Polish Airlines. They will serve the chancelleries of the president, prime minister and both chambers of parliament. The leasing agreement was signed for four years, according to RMF FM radio. And according to Gazeta Wyborcza daily both planes were made in 2006. LOT was the first airline to introduce Embraers from the E-Jet family into its fleet in 2006. It still uses 6 Embraers 175.

Embraer is a medium-range jet plane that usually serves routes up to 3,000 km. It is manufactured in Brazil by Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica. Usually carrying 82 passengers, its interior will be remodeled to cater for VIPs.

Embraers were leased thanks to a special procedure that allows to avoid announcing of unlimited tender. This fact already raised questions among opposition politics, that accuse the government to be under pressure from Embraer lobbyists. However, if it was not for the special ordering procedure, the Polish law makes it unable to announce a tender for the planes sooner than in 2011.

Successive Polish governments have been unsuccessfully buying planes for its top politicians since 1993. The last tender was called off in 2006 after some formal mistakes and accusations that the conditions were fixed so that only one manufacturer could win the tender. At that time it was Embraer.

Photos: Courtesy of LOT

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