Saturday, October 16, 2021

NOW KGOSI JOINS JET SET LEAGUE

Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS), Director General Isaac Kgosi plans to complete his jet set lifestyle with a P100 million business aircraft financed by tax payers.

Kgosi will be the only public official apart from President Ian Khama to travel on a BizJet. Even the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, only has to do with Botswana Defence Force (BDF) aircrafts.

DIS is among 84 customers worldwide that have ordered the first batch of the Pilatus PC-24 twin engine business jet which has been under development by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland and is due for delivery in the last quarter of 2017. 

Another known customer is the Swiss Air Force, which intends to use the jet as an executive transport for Swiss Federal Council ÔÇô (the Swiss Executive arm comprising the president and six cabinet members).

Sunday Standard can reveal that when Pilatus opened its order book on the first day of the May 2014 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland, the DIS was among the first to place an order. By the end of the show, the PC-24 had gained 84 orders, with production sold out until 2019.

To secure his order, the DIS boss paid a non-refundable deposit of $250 000 (about P2, 5 million) for the aircraft, roughly equivalent to 2.8 percent of the PC-24’s $8.9 million price tag. 

According to PC 24 reviews, “only the finest-quality materials have been used to create an interior that fits in perfectly with the latest standards of comfort and functionality. Every component is chosen to enhance the passenger experience: soft leathers and rare hardwood cabinetry full of exquisite details create a bespoke interior that reflects the meticulous purpose of the aircraft.

The PC-24 operating costs are, however, expected to burn a hole on the DIS budget. According to information raised by the Sunday Standard, the pricing of several layers of fixed monthly costs will be driven by aircraft utilisation, starting at $545 per hour. 

Pilatus is working with Williams International to develop an hourly engine maintenance programme, and separately an airframe maintenance programme for the aircraft. Apart from the hourly engine and airframe maintenance costs, the DIS is expected to spend more on the expensive aviation fuel, considering the relatively high PC24 fuel consumption.

Compared to the average Mid-size Private Jet, which costs $3.58* per nautical mile and $46.78¢* per seat per nautical mile to operate, the Pilatus PC-24 is $0.85 cheaper per nautical mile (a 24-percent margin) and 21.53¢ more expensive per seat per nautical mile (a 46 percent premium)

Compared to the average fuel costs for all private aircraft, which are $0.59* per nautical mile and 23.79¢* per seat per nautical mile, the Pilatus PC-24 is $2.15 more expensive per nautical mile (a 366-percent premium) and 44.52¢ more expensive per seat per nautical mile (a 187 -percent premium). One Nautical Mile = 1.15 Miles

Kgosi’s latest acquisition is expected to gobble up close to 50 percent of the spy organisation’s development budget for the current planning period (2017). 

The DIS was allocated the largest share of the Presidential Affairs Ministry’s development budget.  Out of the requested total amount of P670 826 300) for the 2017/18 financial year, P261 060 914 went to DIS.  

The envisaged allocation to DIS represents 38.9 percent of the Ministry’s development budget that has increased 11.8 percent from the 2016/2017 budget of P600 084 150.

Immediately after placing the order for the DIS private jet in 2014, the spy boss rushed to Parliament to ask for supplementary funding. A minority opinion of the Parliamentary Budget Estimates Committee has revealed how DIS was P1 million during the 2014 December Supplementary Budget requests although it did not meet requirements for supplementary funding. 

The minority group within the Budget Estimates Committee made up of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) members of Parliament also put together a needs assessment index for budget funding which for the first time in the history of the country’s budgeting system detailed a science to the budgeting process as opposed to the current arbitrary system. 

The index results presented as “a minority opinion within the Budget Estimates Committee” revealed that the DIS did not qualify for the additional funding. 

In a footnote to the index results, the minority group recommended that the request by DIS should be sent back to be assessed under the regular budgeting process as “it does not meet any of the requirements for supplementary funding”. 

The minority report was, however, suppressed by Parliament and its opinion rejected by the majority BDP Members of Parliament who approved all the funding the DIS requested although it had emerged that the request did not meet requirements. 

A proposal by UDC Vice President Ndaba Gaolatlhe that the minority opinion be made part of the Parliament Hansard was rejected by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe. 

The DIS supplementary budget request was also tied up with that of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) that met the requirements for supplementary funding although their funding needs were not linked. 

The DIS currently owns two PC-12 aircrafts and to prepare its crew for conversion to the PC-24, the agency last year sent pilots, Tino Phuthego and Opelo Motlhagela, to Dallas, Texas, to be drilled by FlightSafety International. 

Under a new master services agreement signed by Pilatus Aircraft, the  DIS pilots obtained factory-authorised training for the new Pilatus PC-24 twinjet from FlightSafety International. 

The agreement called for a FlightSafety PC-24 simulator to be installed at the training provider’s learning centre in Dallas. In addition to a full-motion simulator, FlightSafety also built graphical flight deck simulators, desktop simulators for classrooms and Sim Vu simulator flight debriefing systems. 

PC-24 is the first jet built by Pilatus, and the first-ever Swiss-built business jet, and as part of its certification bid, two of its prototypes P01 and P02 are currently undergoing tests.

The first flight of the prototype was originally anticipated to take place in late 2014, but this was delayed. On May 11, 2015, P01 conducted its first flight from HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buochs_Airport” \o “Buochs Airport”Buochs Airport, Switzerland, for a total of 55 minutes. The occasion marked the start of test flights for the aircraft’s two-year certification campaign. 

On November 16, 2015, P02, the second prototype, performed its maiden flight lasting for 82 minutes; by this date, P01 had accumulated a total of 150 flying hours and had undertaken over 100 flights.

In May 2016, P01 took a brief intermission in the test programme to appear on static display at European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE); by this point, P01 and P02 had accumulated more than 500 flight hours between them.

During EBACE 2016, it was announced that the programme was on track and test flights had been free of faults. During atransatlantic crossing to the United States of America, P02 had achieved a cruise speed in excess of 800km/hr (432 kt.), which was better than expected. 

The Pilatus PC-24 is scheduled to reach certification in mid-2017 with customer deliveries beginning shortly thereafter.

 

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