New Slovak ‘Air Force One’ Lands at Bratislava Airport

An Airbus A319-115 CJ, which should serve as Slovakia's 'Air Force One', landing for the first time with a new Slovak national livery at Bratislava Airport. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 14 (TASR) – An eleven-year-old Airbus A319-115 CJ, which is due to serve as the new Slovak ‘Air Force One’, landed at Bratislava airport on Tuesday morning to replace an old Russian Tu-154 M, said Interior Minister Robert Kalinak at a press briefing at the airport on the same day.

The aircraft worth €42 million arrived from Ostrava, the Czech Republic, where it was given its new Slovak national livery.

“There’s a presidential cabin, premises for the entourage, for journalists, and, if necessary, part of the area on board can be converted into evacuation premises, doubling its capacity,” said Kalinak, adding that part of the plane can also be changed into a medical cabin with five couches for patients with medium and severe injuries.

“So, for the first time we’ll be able to transport injured Slovak citizens back to their homeland,” said Kalinak.

According to the minister, the aircraft isn’t new, but there’s a very good ratio between its price and what it can deliver. For example, its fuel consumption is far lower than that of the two Tu-154 M aircraft, one of which has been unused for years because it was viewed as being too costly to repair.

The newly bought A319 has a range of around 9,000 kilometres, making it possible to reach the eastern coast of the USA comfortably, for example. The aircraft, which was produced in 2005 and put into operation one year later, has spent some 4,400 hours in the air and has carried out 1,300 landings. Kalinak announced that it should undergo an overhaul next year, after which it will be able to fly for another 30 years.

Meanwhile, the state is planning to buy two medium-sized Fokker 100 aircraft. “The contract hasn’t been fully concluded, but it appears that the first one could come in September – granted, if the contract is actually signed and [the aircraft] is repaired properly,” added Kalinak.