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Top politicians throughout region use outdated aircraft

Top politicians throughout Central Europe are transported with outdated aircraft, including Hungary's "Air Force One" which is a Russian Antonov 26 made in 1980, daily Népszabadság reported on Tuesday.

The aircraft was bought by Hungary from the Russian air force in 2004 and by that time it had flown 3,528 hours, the paper said. According to experts, the aircraft is in excellent technical condition and operated by a world-class crew, but lacks some of the most modern navigation equipment. It follows that the aircraft cannot land under extreme weather conditions and cannot be used as flexibly as most modern passenger aircraft, the paper said.

Among other countries in the region, the Serbian president uses the most up-to-date aircraft: a Dassault Falcon 50 mid-sized jet, with a Learjet 30 business jet standing by. The Czech VIP fleet consists of two Airbus aircraft and two Russian Tu-154s. Slovak and Bulgarian leaders also use TU-154s.

However, the Bulgarian air force has suspended the use of the TU-154s until an investigation is completed into the causes of Polish President Lech Kaczynski's recent fatal accident with this type of aircraft. (MTI)