After years of using chartered planes for overseas travels, Israel’s leaders may soon get their own Air Force One.
Israel Hayom has learned that the government plans to buy a used commercial plane that would be fitted with various communication and defense systems. The cost of the aircraft and the overall refurbishing is estimated at $70 million.
According to the plan, the plane will have the necessary technology to allow Israeli leaders to carry out their duties in full while airborne and have room for some 100 people.
According to sources familiar with the issue, assuming an Israeli company will refurbish the yet-to-be-purchased plane, it will need about a year to fit the necessary technology according to the criteria set by a special committee comprising representatives from the Shin Bet security agency, the Transportation and Road Safety Ministry and the Finance Ministry. A company has already been chosen through a bidding process but its name cannot be published for security reasons. Accordingly, the plane could be ready by mid-2017 at the earliest. The plane will have an estimated maintenance cost of about 30 million shekels (about $7.8 million) per year.