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Zuma’s trip to France

Image source: SA Airforce

President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to fly to France in another bizjet Boeing shadowed by Inkwazi. When the President and his entourage take off for France next month it will be aboard the latest Boeing 737 business jet (a “damp lease”) in VVIP configuration that is due to arrive at AFB Waterkloof within days.

Refusing to fly with Inkwazi

The President has apparently refused to fly with Inkwazi reportedly due to the number of problems experienced with the aircraft. Inkwazi is the BBJ currently operated for him by the SAAF. This has seen him aboard chartered aircraft, including the Fortune Air Boeing 737, in recent times. The trip to France will, by all accounts, be the first time the new arrival flies a South African head of state. The “damp lease” is for a year and will see a SAAF flight crew aboard as well as cabin crew from 21 Squadron.

Even though Inkwazi is apparently grounded, she will be used as a “shadow” aircraft in the unlikely event of the new presidential aircraft, which is 8 years old, experiencing problems en route. The pair of bizjets will be followed to France by 21 Squadron’s Falcon 50 which has been designated to carry Zuma and his official entourage to the Delville Wood memorial, about 140km from the French capital Paris.

Reason for the France trip

Zuma is due to visit the World War One memorial on July 12. A Cabinet statement last week said: “While the Delville Wood Memorial is dedicated to South African soldiers, the apartheid government’s policies at the time excluded black South Africans who died during the war while their white counterparts were buried at the Delville Wood Memorial. The memorial is undergoing a significant transformation to reflect the historical role played by black South Africans in the First and Second World Wars and to accord them the necessary recognition.

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