The New Zealand prime minister flies on a 30-year-old aircraft and has a backup plane ready for his trip to China in case the first aircraft breaks down
Chris Hipkins, the leader of New Zealand, had an additional aircraft observe his flight to China.
Hipkins’ primary aircraft, which is 30 years old, needed to be replaced in the event of a breakdown.
When their planes broke down during official visits, the leaders of New Zealand have been left stranded.
In case the 30-year-old plane that New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is traveling in breaks down during an official visit to China, Hipkins has prepared a spare aircraft.
Hipkins went to Beijing on Sunday in an Illustrious New Zealand Flying corps Boeing 757 with a business and exchange designation, as well as media. He is scheduled to remain in China through Friday.
“Given the significance of the exchange mission, the significant distance included and the enormous size of the voyaging industry designation and media contingent, it was viewed as that a reinforcement airplane was legitimate to guarantee the outcome of the mission to our biggest exchange accomplice,” a representative for Hipkins told Insider.
The spokesperson continued, “The 757s are approximately 30 years old, are nearing the end of their economic lives, and are scheduled for replacement between 2028 and 2030.”
The spokesperson added that Hipkins’ plane was followed to Manila in the Philippines by a backup plane, which is now in Darwin, Australia, to support the return trip if necessary. If necessary, the backup plane will only fly to Shanghai in China.
The spokesperson continued, “It is not unusual for the Air Force to provide backup aircraft, where available.”
The move has been criticized by the opposition party for being harmful to the environment.
“Certain individuals could carry an extra telephone charger with them while voyaging abroad in the event that they lose one or it breaks,” said David Seymour, the head of ACT resistance, in a public statement on Monday. ” Chris Hipkins needs to carry an extra Boeing airplane with him.”
He stated, “New Zealand’s out-of-date air fleet is becoming a source of national embarrassment,” and he also stated that the government of the country is not investing enough in defense.
However, according to estimates from the defense ministry, a new VIP plane would cost $300 million to 600 million New Zealand dollars, or $185 million to $370 million. As a result, it could become a political issue.
The air force plane is “far cheaper” than a commercial charter, according to the spokesperson for the prime minister. It also has security features and can go from one location to another without stopping.
However, New Zealand’s aging air force fleet has a track record of malfunctioning.
After the military plane in which she was traveling broke down in October of that year, then-prime minister Jacinda Ardern had to stay an extra night in Antarctica. She took an Italian plane home. In May 2022, another plane in which she was traveling also broke down, so she left on a commercial flight.
In August, Safeguard Pastor Peeni Henare and a 30-man designation stalled out in the Solomon Islands after their plane separated. In 2016, John Key, the prime minister at the time, had to cancel a trip to India because his plane broke down while he was there.