The delivery in July of a new presidential jet to Senegal has sparked a public outcry, with opposition parties and civil society demanding the government account for the cost of the aircraft at a time of economic hardship.

The new ACJ320-200N would be delivered from Airbus on July 16 in line with a purchase agreement signed in June 2019, government spokesperson Omar Gueye said in a statement. It would replace a twenty-year-old ACJ319-100, 6V-ONE, purchased second-hand in November 2010 and put into service in March 2011. He said Senegal would sell the A319 corporate jet as it had become obsolete, requiring frequent and expensive maintenance. It was, therefore, out of action for long periods, resulting in costly charters of aircraft for presidential missions. The new aircraft would be more fuel-efficient and have a longer range, considerably reduce maintenance and operating costs, and reduce expenses related to technical stopovers. The government had made payment for the new aircraft in instalments, the last of which was scheduled on the delivery date, he said. Gueye did not disclose the cost of the aircraft.

However, the civil society lobby group, Noo Lank, accused President Macky Sall of spending XOF60 billion CFA francs (USD111.6 million) on the new aircraft, “at a time when the country lacks everything (water, electricity, sanitation infrastructure, etc.) and when poverty increases”, reported Seneweb.

“This aircraft will depreciate at an annual cost of XOF7 million (USD13,000) per day, or XOF2.5 billion (USD4.6 million) per year, for 20 years, excluding fuel costs and operations. This amount still corresponds to the purchase of 400 vehicles per year at a unit cost of XOF25 million (USD46,500) for five years. It's a huge amount,” Noo Lank charged.

It suggested Sall assign the aircraft to Air Sénégal (HC, Dakar Blaise Diagne Int'l) to operate during periods when he did not travel. “The national airline, severely affected by the health crisis, could thus strengthen its capacities and commercial income,” the organisation said.

As previously reported, Air Senegal itself has ten aircraft on order, including eight A220-300s and two A330-900s, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module.