TBILISI, DFWatch — The Defense Ministry in Georgia has published details about flights made by the government with a Gulfstream G450 which was recently withdrawn from use due to budget cuts.
The information used to be state secrets, but was published because of the great public interest.
In the period 26-30 September 2011, the plane made a flight from Tbilisi-Batumi-Vienna-Warsaw-Tbilisi. In the same period, a second summit of the Eastern Partnership took place in Warsaw. The president attended the summit.
From July 26 to August 4 2011 there was a round trip from Georgia to Lima and back to attend the inauguration of the Peruvian president July 29.
Another flight was August 28-September 2, 2011, Tbilisi-Batumi-Palanga-Batumi-Tbilisi, then a trip to Italy and Poland, followed by a trip to Italy 14-19 August, 2011.
Vako Avaliani, advisor to the Defense Minister, said on Thursday that this is only a small part of the flights. He said that state also financed flights of other National Movement leaders.
By order of the ministry, the contract with the company that owns the jet is to be suspended.
Manana Manjgaladze, spokesperson for the president, on Wednesday denied that the president is using two jets. She said the other jet serves the government and this hasn’t changed after the election.
Manjgaladze explained that canceling the contract with the leasing company will cause a loss of already paid money.
“We want to note that purchase through leasing is a generally acceptable and tested method,” she said.
According to the defense ministry, about USD 480 000 has been paid for the Gulfstream V plane. Its total worth is USD 160 million.