President might get new plane

Plans are in place to sign a lease for a Boeing 777 from the United States.

President Jacob Zuma.

JOHANNESBURG - The Defence Ministry said on Friday it was considering upgrading President Jacob Zuma's private jet.

It was reported that the Air Force was planning to supplement its VIP fleet with aeroplanes that usually carry hundreds of passengers.

The Air Force has come under fire for deploying shadow planes on many of Zuma's trips overseas.

The Defence Force told Eyewitness News they were considering upgrading the president's plane, but that it was just too early to confirm anything.

Reports indicate that plans are underway to sign a lease for a second-hand Boeing 777 from the United States (US).

Compared to the troubled Inkwazi, the Boeing is a set up much bigger and faster and also more imposing then the previous jet.

The upgrade may be due to Zuma's jet breaking down,having undergone maintenance for over three months and the fiasco in which two empty charted planes shadowed the President on a recent trip to the US.

Meanwhile, Air Force chief Carlo Gagiano will retire and Major General Fabian Msimang will be taking over from October.

He will be in charge of monitoring the president's overseas trips.