Shame On Executives For Flying Private Jets...

...only those of us in Congress get to fly private jets

Congress plans to spend $550 million to buy eight jets, a substantial upgrade to the fleet used by federal officials at a time when lawmakers have criticized the use of corporate jets by companies receiving taxpayer funds.

The purchases will help accommodate growing travel demand by congressional officials. The planes augment a fleet of about two dozen passenger jets maintained by the Air Force for lawmakers, administration officials and military chiefs to fly on government trips in the U.S. and abroad.

The congressional shopping list goes beyond what the Air Force had initially requested as part of its annual appropriations. The Pentagon sought to buy one Gulfstream V and one business-class equivalent of a Boeing 737 to replace aging planes. The Defense Department also asked to buy two additional 737s that were being leased.

Lawmakers in the House last week added funds to buy those planes, and plus funds to buy an additional two 737s and two Gulfstream V planes. The purchases must still be approved by the Senate. The Air Force version of the Gulfstream V each costs $66 million, according to the Department of Defense, and the 737s cost about $70 million.

Even the richest of private companies blush at the prospect of buying Gulfstream V jets, the absolute top of the line in business jet luxury.  Except, of course, for the ridiculously oversized Boeing Business Jet, of which Congress appears to be buying 3 (the BBJ is the business version of the 737).  I am sure there is one, but I can't think of a single Fortune 500 company, and I have worked for and with a lot of them and flown on their jets, that has even one BBJ.

I can understand why certain officials need to fly private planes just for security, but the average Congressman from Wyoming?  Why won't commercial work.  Andy why, if they must have  a private plane, wouldn't a more reasonably sized Falcon 50 or Citation work just as well?

Update: Several people have found it ironic that the White House threw a fit over $300+ million for funding of new warplanes but hasn't blinked over $500+ million to ferry Congress around in luxury.

Update #2: An example of the BBJ.  This is how you fly, right?

boeing_bbj_int1_lg

  • thrill

    Congress should have to enjoy the same safety and convenience of travel that their constituents do.

  • Michael

    This is a cost saving measure for each individual member of congress. By using Air Force planes, they can fly their family and friends around the world for vacations government business and not have to pay for they trip as they would had they taken a private company's plane. It saves a lot of money, kinda like when a person buys 10,000 20 watt light bulbs because they had a 10% off coupon.

  • Michael

    Speaking of safety, how about the Airbus 330s problems with flight speed data.

  • ElamBend

    It's totally understandable. Who wants to go through all that security rigmarole.

    Of course this virtually guarantees that the rest of us will have to go through it much longer because these crooks won't understand what it's all about.

  • puhkawn

    What does it say about congress when facing a 1.7 or 1.8 trillion dollar deficit that they go shopping for 500 million dollars worth of luxury jets? I think it pretty much says they don't give a damn what you and I think. You wont hear a peep from Obama as he wants his agenda passed and doesn't dare make congress unhappy. I guess it is alright as it is obvious that the rules governing income tax, home mortgages, and proposed health care reforms, just to name a few, do not apply to them. So why should they be burdened by the financial restraints that apply to us mere citizens?

  • Rick Caird

    Michael leads to an interesting point. How about we just replace all the Congressional planes with Airbus 330's and be done with it?

    Rick

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Heads on pikes.

  • Craig

    I think they should name one of these planes the "Marie Antoinette."

  • Michael

    I don't mean to sound like a flat earther, but I'm a little wary of using composites in commercial aircraft. It's great stuff, but when it fails, it's a catastrophic failure. And I'm not aware of any inspection process like there is for metal to check for possible future failure.

    I wonder what is holding up the 787? I seems like every time Boeing is going to do the maiden flight, there's some composite problem on an Airbus and the plane is dragged back to the hanger for further study.

  • Doug

    Hey, you people! You're overlooking the obvious. These plans cost so much because they will be powered by solar panels and windmills. Congress is simply trying to show some leadership by example, showing us how Cap & Trade SHOULD be executed. Why so negative all the time? Your Congress loves you!

  • DKN

    Mesa Econoguy, Craig: for those remarks you have been duly reported to the Official White House Snitch Brigade.

  • "Let them eat cake." Ah, I hear the roar of thunder getting closer. I hope that when the *hit hits the fan, this will not find all our elected officials with their "pants down" in surprise. However, considering their moral standards, most of them probably will have their pants down.

  • Michael

    50 years from now, historians will be going through the National Archives and wondering what idiot came up with the idea to have Americans send pointless dribble to the White House.

  • eCurmudgeon

    Here's a chance for the Republicans to take the upper hand, and institute a policy of only flying commercial, and only on Southwest.

  • "Congress plans to spend $550 million to buy eight jets, a substantial upgrade to the fleet used by federal officials at a time when lawmakers have criticized the use of corporate jets by companies receiving taxpayer funds."

    That's crazy!

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  • Dan

    I agree this is ridiculous, and hopefully the exposure on the front page of the WSJ today will send the idea crashing to earth (no pun intended).

    The problem with Congress is that it's all about individual legislators trying to please their constituents with the pork of the day. Whether it's someone from Washington or Illinois trying to help Boeing (as it might seem here) or someone from another district with Gulf Stream in mind, the results are the same. Just as when the military tried to shut unneeded military bases and ran into this same thing, or the F-22 fiasco that's still going on.

    It's rare to see a legislator stand up for what's right for the country and not for jobs in his or her own district.

  • Jim Collins

    I'd like to know who's districts these planes will be built in? Could we be seeing a payoff for supporting Obamacare or the bailout here?

  • Captain Obviousness

    Just watch... once the criticism of this gets widespread, they will say "ordering these planes is stimulus. Think of all the workers it will take to make these planes." When a crackpot like Keynes is the leading economic guru, any kind of spending like this is justified.

  • Michael

    Jim, I would think they'd buy currently available planes. Many of these people aren't going to be around after 2010.

  • Jim Collins

    Michael,
    The aircraft have to be built to a Milspec standard. They cannot just buy off the shelf. Certain items like military radios and navigation instruments need to be added. Certain systems have to be beefed up and some redundant systems added. Let's not forget the active and passive protection equipment needed incase of certain pissed off elements with Stingers or Sa-10s at their disposal. The G-5s are going to be built new, the 737s maybe upgraded aircraft, but they are going to need at least a "D" check of their airframes.

  • Methinks

    My my my....how our public SERVANTS do enjoy luxury. Must be nice to be in the king's court. You know, in the past, stuff like this has been known to spark revolutions.

  • Mitchel44

    Well, I don't know what size of flight crew these carry, but it appears they all wear uniforms, as do the folks doing all of the ground work.

    When you up a squadron from 24 to 30 planes, magically you require more hangers, more tarmac, more maintainers, more flight crew, more fuel, etc....

    Just a "gift" that keeps on giving.

  • Jim Collins

    Your right Mitchel. How much do you want to bet that they don't give the Air Force the funding to pay for those items?