Wednesday, May 22, 2024

ARGENTINA | 16-04-2024 17:22

Milei will no longer fly commercial for security reasons, says spokesperson

Javier Milei reverses previous decision to travel by commercial airliner on foreign trips abroad; Decision follows recommendation by Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, who has asked that President’s protection be stepped up.

Budget-slashing President Javier Milei will no longer fly commercial flights for security reasons, his spokesperson said this week.

Milei, 53, has reversed his previous commitment to trim state costs by cutting the use of the presidential fleet in the wake of a confidential report from Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, who asked for the head of state's protection to be stepped up.

The President, who has slashed subsidies for fuel and transport and cut tens of thousands of public service jobs in his quest to halt economic decline, had foresworn using the three planes in the presidential fleet.

But according to Milei's spokesman, the conditions for the President to continue flying commercial, as he has done since the start of his administration, are no longer being met. 

Manual Adorni said that the Security Ministry had filed a report warning of “certain risks.”

“The President will indeed stop flying on commercial flights,” the presidential spokesperson underlined.

Bullrich, in turn, said in a television interview this week that even though “there’s no money,” the “President must be taken care of.”

The decision was taken just days after Milei cut short an international trip last week following Iran's attack on Israel. 

Milei's staunch support for Israel has sparked fears the country's Jewish community could be vulnerable to attack.

“We have to consider that Argentina is in a very strong stage of austerity, but we also have to take care of the President. A commercial flight with a lot of people, luggage, potential situations, is not the same as an aeroplane we fully control, for presidential security, by the military, by Air Force pilots," Bullrich argued.

Since he took office in December, Milei has travelled on commercial airlines for his official trips, posting videos on social media of him taking selfies with fellow passengers.

On one such trip to Davos in January, where he slammed socialism as a threat to the West in an address to political and business elites, Milei claimed to have saved the state almost US$400,000. 

Milei is expected to start using the Boeing 757 Tango 01 as early as Friday on a trip to the south of Argentina for a meeting with business leaders. 

The libertarian leader previously criticised his predecessor in office, Alberto Fernández, for excessive use of the presidential fleet.

Fernández responded to those claims in a social media post on Tuesday.

"And one day they realised that, for security reasons, it is advisable to use official planes? More than a hundred days to discover the obvious. The price you pay when you play at demagoguery," wrote the Peronist leader on X.



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