Uruguay has begun a process to auction the British Aerospace BAe 125-700A business jet acquired in 2017 by the country’s previous government for use as a presidential transport for then head of the Executive Tabare Vazquez.
The 41-year-old midsize aircraft was bought for around one million dollars by the administration of president Vasquez, despite strong parliamentary opposition and from the national accounts office. The excuse was that the air force-operated jet also be used for medical evacuation flights, despite the fact it did not have such facilities and demanded further investment to adapt it.
However, the defense minister of the new government which took office on March first, Javier Garcia revealed that according to Air Force records, since the twinjet entered service, only 10% of flights have been medical missions, while the remainder could have been performed by other air force assets.
“The characteristics of this plane are not the characteristics that a medical flight requires,” explained minister García. Changes over the standard VIP interior to permit patient transport cost an additional US$ 90,000.
Production of the type ended several years ago, and Garcia said the support and service costs are “disproportionate”: in 2018 and 2019, Uruguay spent US$ 1.5 million on fuel, training and maintenance for the jet. Garcia has now ordered the air force to start auctioning off the aircraft.
During the parliamentary debate for the purchase of the plane it was revealed that the previous owner of the 1979 built aircraft belonged to a Uruguayan businessman with close links to the administration of ex president Vázquez.