Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's numerous flights on state aircraft since she began serving as Argentina’s vice-president have been a regular source of ire for her critics – now the results of a freedom of information request from a local news agency have reignited debate.
Following a public information request by the Noticias Argentinas news agency, it can now be revealed that almost six million pesos have been spent flying the former president south on state aircraft since 2019.
Fernández de Kirchner, 68, has used at least three planes from the presidential fleet on 11 occasions for flights between Buenos Aires and El Calafate since assuming office as vice-president in December 2019. All but two of the trips took place last year.
Critics have questioned the practice and its exorbitant cost, asking why the former president does not travel with Aerolíneas Argentinas to her private residence in the south. The state airline also flies to Santa Cruz Province and the option would be considerably cheaper for the state’s coffers, even if a first-class ticket was purchased.
The finding emerges after the government revealed details of the flights by the presidential fleet between Aeroparque ‘Jorge Newbery’ Metropolitan Airport in the capital and Comandante Armando Tola International Airport in El Calafate in response to the request.
Since December 2019, official data shows Fernández de Kirchner has used three planes to fly from the Federal Capital to Santa Cruz – the Tango 04 (Boeing 737-500), Tango 10 and Tango 11 (both Learjet 60) – with the aircraft sometimes flying down empty from the capital with the sole aim of picking her up in El Calafate and bringing her back.
Furthermore, the vice-president also took several flights in state aircraft using Río Gallegos as a stopover, as well as flying aboard on planes belonging to state energy firm YPF, which took refuge in company anonymity not to reveal further information when consulted by NA.
Officially, the cost of presidential fleet flights from Buenos Aires to El Calafate (including fuel) since December 2019 adds up to 5,993,956.67 pesos, according to Noticias Argentinas.
The vice-president’s last flight to El Calafate cost 554,413 pesos, whereas a first-class ticket with Aerolíneas Argentinas costs around 30,000 pesos – comparing the two, the former is around 18 times more expensive than a seat costs on the flagship carrier.