The Slovenia Times

Government Falcon Jet to Be Offered for Use by NATO

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The Dessault Falcon 2000 Ex will be re-registered as military aircraft and integrated into the army's fleet on 1 January 2013, Defence Minister AleŇ° Hojs told reporters after the government session

The jet will be listed in NATO's ATARES programme, where participants provide mutual support through the exchange of services in air force, and where Slovenia already has a few of its helicopters.

The Falcon will be available in ATARES at around EUR 3,500 per flight hour. All NATO members will be able to use the aircraft.

The jet will qualify as Slovenia's contribution to NATO, which is why the Slovenian troops will be able to use transport aircraft for transfer to Kosovo or Afghanistan.

Moreover, Hojs was hopeful that the jet could also be marketed through agreements with other EU member states.

The jet, which was bought for USD 33m in 2001 amidst public controversy, was most recently entrusted with the Civil Aviation Agency in April in order to be sold or leased out.

But since the attempt failed, the Falcon will be returned to the Defence Ministry. Still, the minister said that it could still be used for state functions by the president and the government.

There is meanwhile still the possibility for the Defence Ministry to sell the jet should it get an acceptable offer.

Two crews with technicians will be trained to fly the jet by June at the cost of EUR 200,000. The aircraft will be operatively available as part of ATARES in July.

In this way flying costs will be reduced by EUR 50,000, as the Falcon will be in the military registry and there will be no need to seek a licence abroad, Hojs said, unable to disclose yet the costs for next year.

The Falcon was leased out to a US company in 2004. In 2009 it was taken to Switzerland for maintenance and was returned to Slovenia later that year. Subsequent attempts to sell or lease the jet have been unsuccessful.
 

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