Aircraft for Israeli PM and President to Cost $40 Million

On top of that, first-year security and maintenance could reach $10 million.

The cost of purchasing and converting an aircraft for the prime minister and the president is 140 million shekels ($40 million) - 105 million shekels to buy it and 35 million shekels to convert it into a VIP plane.

This amount does not include the cost of security and ongoing maintenance. Expenses just for the year the aircraft is purchased could reach as much as another 35 million shekels, according to the Finance Ministry’s answer to a query from officials of the The Movement for Freedom of Information.

Financial officials estimate that the cost of the security system that the defense establishment requires could reach tens of millions of shekels. To this must be added the cost of ongoing operation, which is estimated at 15.26 million shekels to 20 million shekels per year.

High-ranking government officials said that this estimate, reached about three years ago, was not coordinated with the current costs of purchasing and equipping an aircraft. The financial officials said that the statistics needed to be brought up to date, and that the cost would be higher since there have been changes in the prices of fuel, the purchase price of the plane, its conversion, and its security requirements.

According to statistics from the Finance Ministry’s accountant general and the Budget Department, the current annual cost to taxpayers for flights of the prime minister and the president amounts to about $7 million. From 2008 to 2010, the average sum was $5.8 million.

According to Finance Ministry figures from three years ago, it takes 15 to 22 years to recoup the expense of purchasing and converting the aircraft. Financial officials said that this figure also needs to be brought up to date.

Finance Ministry officials said that the economic significance of purchasing a dedicated aircraft for the prime minister and president is that the plane is used intensively, reducing the number of commercial flights and flights on executive aircraft.

Kobi Gideon