French President Sarkozy to get A330

 - June 4, 2009, 7:52 AM

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be flying in a style more becoming the nation’s leader with a recent government decision to acquire an Airbus A330-200 that will be outfitted as the country’s newest head-of-state aircraft.

Until then, Sarkozy will continue to use one of two Airbus A319 ACJs operated by the French Air Force. The A330-200, which the nation is acquiring from Caribbean carrier Air Caraibes, will have 8,500 nm range with the new head-of-state interior.

It isn’t simply the range, said an industry spokesman in France. “It’s also a matter of being able to travel with an adequate staff of ministers and advisors.”

According to the French financial daily Les Echos, the new A330 will be outfitted for
60 passengers. French electronics specialist Thales is expected to install an encrypted communications system, as well as an anti-missile protection package.

According to government sources, the cost of acquiring and outfitting the big twinjet will come in at $232.36 million, part of a $398.7 million project to overhaul the official aircraft fleet. The plan includes replacing six older Falcons with two new Falcon 7Xs and four Falcon 2000s.