Congress Plans $550M Upgrade to Its Jet Fleet

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2009 7:51 AM CDT
The House has voted to add more Gulfstream business jets to the federal fleet.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, file)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Congress plans to spend $550 million to upgrade and expand the fleet of jets used to ferry federal officials around the country and abroad, the Wall Street Journal reports. Funds approved by the House for the military-run fleet call for two 737s and two Gulfstream jets on top of the four planes the military has asked for, resulting in a significant increase in passenger capacity. The jets are used by military officials, the White House, and Congress.

Air Force documents describe the 737s as "offices in the sky," with first-class leather seats and a "distinguished visitor compartment. "A Pentagon press secretary says the Department of Defense never asked for the extra jets and doesn't need them, but a House Appropriations Committee spokesman said the request was to make sure "the troops have everything they need." The only military personnel beside pilots and top brass on board, however, are usually there to carry bags and take drink orders.