Saturday, March 28, 2009

S. Korea to Buy New Presidential Plane by 2014

South Korea will purchase a new presidential plane by 2014, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Wednesday.The agency will open a bid by January next year. The government will submit to the National Assembly this fall a bill calling for setting aside money to buy the plane, a DAPA official said. An estimated 190 billion won ($140 million) will be needed to buy a jumbo jet, such as Boeing's 787 or 747 or Airbus' 340 aircraft, they said. The presidential plane procurement program, which was approved during the agency's decision-making meeting, is aimed at replacing the current presidential carrier with a new one with greater seating capacity and longer range, the agency said in a news release. Introduced in 1985, the current South Korean presidential plane, based on the Boeing 737, can accommodate only 30 passengers. It is unable to fly out of Northeast Asia without refueling. For long-distance travel, Cheong Wa Dae has used chartered flights from Korean Air or Asian Airlines, the country's two flag-carriers.

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