For the second time since September 2023, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau encountered aircraft troubles, raising questions about the reliability of the official plane. The latest incident occurred while returning from a family vacation in Jamaica, forcing the deployment of a standby aircraft. In a similar situation last September, during the G20 summit in New Delhi, Trudeau had to extend his stay due to plane issues.
This time, a technical glitch was identified on January 2, leading to the dispatch of a maintenance crew to repair the original aircraft on the spot. The Department of National Defence sent a second plane to Jamaica as the “first aircraft that transported the Prime Minister’s party became unserviceable after arrival,” according to CBC News. Both planes involved were CC-144 Challengers operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force, acquired in 2020.
Trudeau, who initially stated he would cover the vacation’s cost, later clarified that it was covered “at no cost,” courtesy of family friends. The Prime Minister’s family accompanied him on the trip, including Sophie Gregoire, from whom he separated in 2023.
The recurring issues with the official aircraft bring attention to the ageing fleet’s challenges. The aircraft in question is 36 years old and has a history of problems, including incidents in 2016 and 2019. In October 2016, it returned to Ottawa shortly after taking off while Trudeau was travelling to Belgium, and in December 2019, a backup was grounded in London during a NATO summit.
This incident adds to concerns about the maintenance and efficiency of the Prime Minister’s official aircraft, crucial for international travel. The Department of National Defence explained that the second aircraft carried a maintenance team to repair the original, emphasising the importance of having backup plans for the Prime Minister’s transportation. The frequency of these breakdowns prompts a closer examination of the aircraft’s overall reliability and the potential need for updates to the official fleet.