No wi-fi, power cords run on floor: This is Canada PM Justin Trudeau’s plane

Sep 12, 2023 12:29 PM IST

Canadian PM Trudeau's departure from New Delhi was delayed due to aircraft issues, replacement plane also encountered a diversion.

The departure of Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, from New Delhi is experiencing additional delays as a replacement aircraft, the Royal Canadian Air Force's CC-150 Polaris, originally scheduled to arrive on Monday night, has encountered an unscheduled diversion.

Canadian PM Trudeau came to India to attend G20 Summit.(PTI)
Canadian PM Trudeau came to India to attend G20 Summit.(PTI)

READ: Trudeau’s departure likely to be delayed further; replacement aircraft diverted

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The setback arose after Trudeau's initial Airbus aircraft experienced an issue following the G20 Summit on Sunday night, thus preventing his planned departure.

The VIP aircraft in question is an Airbus 310-300, part of the Royal Canadian Air Force's fleet of CC-150 Polaris military transport planes. These planes were initially purchased by Wardair for commercial flight use in 1987 and later acquired by the Air Force in 1992.

Notably, the aircraft earned the moniker "Taj Mahal," bestowed by former Liberal leader Jean Chretien due to concerns over its cost, according to CBC News. Consequently, the interior underwent downsizing to a smaller VIP cabin, equipped with basic amenities including a bed and limited communication facilities.

According to the media report, the VIP plane lacks wi-fi connectivity, and power cords are laid across the floors to enable passengers to charge their devices—an adaptation to modern technology that did not exist when the plane was originally built. While the front of the Polaris houses a small cabin for the prime minister, the remainder of the aircraft is configured more like a typical commercial plane,

The report said that it lacks fuel efficiency and has a limited range, necessitating multiple refuelling stops for most overseas trips.

Moreover, the absence of beds or showers in the main cabin leads to protocol officers, journalists, and security officials resorting to sleeping on the plane's floor or across its seats during overnight flights, using their own blankets, camping pads, and sleeping bags, The Candian Press reported.

VIP aircraft has a long history of breakdowns

This particular aircraft has encountered a series of issues in the past, including sensor damage in 2018, structural damage in 2019, and engine problems during a NATO summit.

The federal government has recently procured nine new Airbus planes to replace the ageing CC-150 Polaris fleet, The Canadian Press report said. One of these aircraft is designated for high-level officials like the prime minister, although it is not yet ready for use.

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