Friday, January 20, 2012

Air Force One Envy

For Tanjung Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah, perks of office mean UK taxpayer funded type cheap meals, wine and spirits in the House of Commons. Her boss has his sights on a private jet.

The plane popularly known as Air Force One, is technically the call sign of any US Air Force aircraft carrying the  President of the United States. In practice, it refers to one of two highly customised Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The idea of designating specific military aircraft to transport the President was first mooted in 1943, when the United States Army Air Force became concerned with relying on commercial airlines to transport the President. The "Air Force One" call sign was created after a 1953 incident involving a flight carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower entered the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using the same call sign.

There are a number of differences between the customized 747's and a standard 747. These include state of the art navigation, secure and unsecure communications and computer systems, custom configuration and furnishings, self-contained baggage loader, front and aft air-stairs, and the capability for in-flight refueling to provide unlimited range.

The plane has an presidential executive suite, including a stateroom and an office, enabling the president to perform duties while in the air in the event of an attack on the United States. The president, his staff, and family, also have dining and conference facilities available to them. Separate accommodation is also provided for guests, senior staff, security personnel, and the news media.

Less detail is available about the Singapore Airlines plane SQ321 which was commandeered and outfitted  into a private hospital ship, complete with two neurosurgeons, two intensive care nurses, oxygen equipment and a drip, to fly Lee Kuan Yew's wife back to Singapore after she suffered a stroke in London in October 2003. Consequent to public concern that tax payers would have to foot the bill, Lee's office released a short statement saying "Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew is paying for all the extra expenses of Mrs Lee's medical treatment in London and for her flight home on Singapore Airlines." The statement did not say how much the bill would be, and how much was paid to date, what discount rate was applied. What we do know is that the news team of tabloid ‘TODAY’ was trashed for the report they made of his speech about the event, which was based on material from an official press release.  Apparently the offending point had to do with the phone call made by Singapore High Commissioner Michael Teo to No. 10 Downing Street, hoping for some intervention to move Mrs Lee up the NHS queue for a brain scan.

Who needs an Air Force One when one has the whole SIA fleet at his beck and call?


  1. With PAP in power for 53 years, what is public, and what is private is getting very blur. Perhaps they already feel Singapore is their private property and they're entitled to this 'big private property' for life. All the people owe them a 'high flying living' for the whole life.

    Limit Government Terms To 2 Terms To Get Rid Off All These Excesses! Enough Is Enough! No One Is Indispensable!

  2. When politicians of one of the tiniest countries in the world;
    start to think they have a more difficult job than the President of USA;
    And they need to have higher salaries than the USA President;

    You know they are delusional.
    Out of touch.
    Group think.
    Deaf frogs.

  3. Sir Tatler,

    this is really one master piece of writing. Keep it up!

  4. All these are just symptoms of a fake democratic dynasty political system. The root cause is an unaccountable and opaque government leading to nation pledge becoming only an aspiration and not national goal. A government without total transparency to its people is never a desirable and good government. Unfortunately, the education system has been designed such that the people has become stupid 'yes man' and politically immature, and also revisions to constitutions to perpetuate the ruling of the Lee dynasty structure.

    How do you believe that a non-transparent government can be corruption free and practicing meritocracy as claimed? The logic has flaws just like the politician's remuneration.