Argentine President Alberto Fernandez Thursday approved the purchase of a replacement for the Tango 01 aircraft through a budget extension to be funded with a CAF loan.
Fernández's decision is to appear in Friday's Official Gazette, according to Casa Rosada sources. Argentina will have to pay US$ 22,230,000 to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency, in addition to handing over the old Tango 01, valued at almost US$ 3 million.
After the money is wired, Argentine officials will undertake the pre-purchase inspection (PPI), it was reported. If nothing unusual is detected, the aircraft could be available in January. It is a Boeing 757-256 built in 2000 and registered N757AG that can accommodate 39 passengers. It has a master bedroom with all the amenities and two other guest bedrooms that can be adapted as meeting rooms. Unlike the current Tango 01 -which has been idle since 2015 and is also a Boeing 757 dating back to 1992- it can fly non-stop to Europe or the United States.
Aviation experts object that the B-757 was discontinued in 2000 and since no other aircraft of the type operates in Argentina, maintenance will have to be obtained elsewhere. But supporters of the initiative argue that the United States Air Force 2 (the Vice President's aircraft) is a B-757 and many carriers such as United, Delta, FedEx, and UPS still operate the model.
Making the current Tango 01 airworthy again would cost between US$ 12 and 15 million, so the option was ruled out.