Officials in Ottawa are starting the hunt to replace the aging fleet of Polaris VIP and transport aircraft.
The military’s fleet of five transport and refuelling aircraft, which includes the VIP planes used for sitting governors general and prime ministers, has been plagued by mechanical problems.
The main executive jet was grounded and remains so after sustaining “significant structural damage” during a hangar accident in October 2019, and the backup executive jet was temporarily grounded over engine problems the following month.
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The fleet began life as commercial aircraft in 1987 before the Royal Canadian Air Force bought them in 1992. It has been using them ever since when the planes are not in for repairs, which is often.
There has been speculation in recent years the government would move to replace the aging planes.
But delays in the fighter jet procurement have dragged out the process, since any new transport and executive planes will need to be able to work compatibly with whatever fighter jet wins that contest.
The estimated budget for the Polaris replacement is estimated between $1 billion and $5 billion.
—With files from The Canadian Press.