Sunday, March 29, 2009

jet plane for election campaign

With tight campaign schedules, chartered aircraft is the most effective mode of transportation for political party leaders, at least those that can afford it.

Despite the plunging value of the rupiah, several parties dare to spend extra money to rent private airplanes for campaigning. 

Yahya Sacawiria, head of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party election team, said the party rented two private planes during the open campaign period between March 6 and April 5.

“One of them is for President SBY and another is for the campaign team. Chartered aircraft is more effective as we have high mobility during the open campaign,” Yahya said. 

Yahya gave no details of the aircraft type or cost. “The party will cover all of the expenses,” he said.

Choel Mallarangeng, Chief Executive Director of Fox Indonesia, a political consultancy firm which is administering the Democratic Party’s campaign, said the campaign team only chartered a private airplane when regular flights were fully booked.

“We don’t choose a specific airline company. It’s just like taxi; we order it only when we need it. Using chartered aircraft is cheaper actually,” Choel said. 

Practicality is also the reason the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) cites for opting for air transport.

The party’s deputy chairman Fadli Zon said Gerindra rented two private jets during the open campaign; one for party’s chief patron, Prabowo Subianto, and the other for advisory board member Hasjim Djojohadikusumo, who is also Prabowo’s brother.

“We rent the private aircraft for 20 days,” Fadli said.

Prabowo took his own private aircraft when he took part in the Golkar Party’s convention to select the party’s presidential candidate in 2004. At that time, Prabowo reportedly rented a Fokker 50 from charter flight company Transwisata Prima Aviation.

Fadli said a Fokker 100 was rented by Prabowo from corporate aircraft operator Premiair. 

The Fokker 100 is a large cabin corporate jet in which the standard 102 seat cabin has been converted in to a VIP and business class cabin with a total of 35 seats. 

Fadli refused to provide details of Gerindra’s aircraft rental, but Fokker 100 operators normally charge its users at least US$4,000 for a Jakarta-Bali one day return flight. Landing fees are excluded in the price.

Golkar has chartered a Boeing 737-300 plane from Sriwijaya Air.

“Actually we rent our aircraft to NAC (Nusantara Air Charter), but the aircraft is likely to be used by Golkar,” Sriwijaya’s public relations manager Ruth Hanna Simatupang said. 

NAC is a chartered aircraft company owned by Solihin Kalla, son of Vice President and Golkar Party Chairman Jusuf Kalla.

According to Ruth, Golkar will rent the aircraft for two weeks and Sriwijaya will provide complete flight services. 

Ruth said this was the first time Sriwijaya had rented one of its aircraft. The campaign season, however, does not impact the chartered flight industry significantly, Pelita Air’s President Director Hariadi Soepangkat said.

“I haven’t seen any significant increase in demand,” he said, adding that Pelita would rely on oil and gas companies to rent aircraft over the long term.
Source: Alfian , The Jakarta Post , JAKARTA | Wed, 03/25/2009 10:10 AM | Election 2009 

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