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President Ruto defends chartering private jet for US visit, cites lower costs compared to Kenya Airways

Kenya’s president William Ruto has addressed public concerns regarding his decision to charter a private jet for his recent state visit to the United States, emphasizing cost efficiency as the primary reason. President Ruto clarified on Sunday, May 26, 2024, that the expenses incurred for the trip were significantly lower than if he had opted to travel with the national carrier, Kenya Airways.

President Ruto traveled to the US on an A6-RJU royal jet. In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), he acknowledged the concerns raised about his choice of transportation, explaining that the decision was made with careful consideration of state resources.

“Fellow Kenyans, I have noted concerns about my mode of transport to the USA. As a responsible steward of public resources and in keeping with my determination for us to live within our means and that I should lead from the front in so doing, the cost was less than travelling on KQ,” Ruto stated.

The President did not however disclose the specific costs of the chartered jet or the potential expenses of a Kenya Airways flight. However, he firmly refuted claims that the jet was leased for five days at a cost of Ksh200 million, calling such figures exaggerated and unreasonable.

A6-RJU jet airborne. The jet is owned and operated by Abu Dhabi based RoyalJet company
PHOTO: A6-RJU jet airborne. The jet is owned and operated by Abu Dhabi based RoyalJet company | COURTESY

“I think the expenditure on my trip is completely exaggerated. They actually border on ridiculous. I am very careful about the resources that I spend,” he added.

State House officials noted during a past press address that the presidential jet, which was purchased in the 1990s, is designed for operations within Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and has never traveled to the US. The jet would require refueling five times to complete the journey, making it impractical for the trip to Atlanta, USA.

Emmanuel Talam, State House Press Secretary, confirmed that logistical constraints prevented the use of the presidential jet for the US trip. Reports indicate that hiring a Boeing business jet like the one President Ruto used could cost around $18,000 per hour, approximately Sh2,358,000. The 19-hour flight to Atlanta would thus amount to approximately Sh71,404,500.

In response to speculation about the funding of the trip, the US Embassy in Nairobi clarified that they did not cover President Ruto’s travel expenses. “Just to be clear: The United States of America did not pay for President Ruto’s jet to the U.S,” stated US Embassy-Nairobi spokesperson Andrew Veveiros.


Mboto Harry Ivan
Mboto Harry Ivan
Mboto Harry Ivan is a Linguistics Media and Communication student at Moi University. He is a versatile writer with over 3 years experience in crafting engaging and compelling news articles and feature stories

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