PM’s aircraft is now in Malaysia

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The elusive A319CJ VVIP Jet which Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad (PMB) purchased, delivered by Airbus December last year and sent to Basel, Switzerland for outfitting is now a Malaysian registered aircraft. It now uses the pennant no. 9M-NAA. It was first featured as a scoop in Berita MyKMU.net on 25 January 2007. Again, featured in this blog as “The plane, the plane” on 17 February 2007, the day this blog started.

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi denied the aircraft was bought by the Government after the story hit sensation amongst Malaysians. Later, he explained PMB had bought the RM 200 million jet and not the Government.

However, something peculiar about the aircraft. The aircraft is donned in TUDM colours, exactly the same used by other VIP jets operated by No. 2 Squadron “Bayan”, based in TUDM Subang but it is not using the ‘M’ registration like the other TUDM aircrafts. Another peculiarity is that the aircraft will be operated, maintained and managed by a third party company. Brothers, a former B777 fleet manager with Malaysia Airlines and a former maintenance engineer with No. 2 Sqdn have formed a company to do the task.

Why the A319CJ VIP jet is being treated this way, no one is really clear. Why the aircraft is not operated, maintained and managed by Malaysia Airlines, the primary Government Link Company in aviation is also not so clear. When Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli managed Malaysia Airlines in the 90s, he ordered a BBJ at LIMA ’97, which was delivered in 2000 and operated by MAS Star, a subsidiary under Malaysia Airlines which provided charter VVIP jet. The Government chartered the use of this jet for the first time when DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuang Agong went to Sydney for the 2000 summer olympics game.

*Note. The photo shows the A319CJ in German registered number, before it was outfitted in Switzerland.

*An update. This is the photo of the A319CJ in the new colour scheme, with the 9M NAA number.

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Published in: on August 7, 2007 at 01:16  Comments (15)