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Anyone would agree that a new paint job for the presidential plane should not be priority spending during the pandemic, yet the State Palace says it has good reason for transforming the aircraft to more closely resemble the Indonesian flag.

The Boeing Business Jet 2 (BBJ2) aircraft, which has the designated code name A-001, has been repainted with a red-and-white color scheme, replacing the sky blue-and-white paint job, which, come to think of it, did not represent Indonesia’s colors.

Yet A-001’s new livery came under immediate criticism, chief among those from renowned aviation expert Alvin Lie, who pointed out that repainting the whole plane should cost around US$100K-150K — a huge amount in pandemic times.

The State Palace refused to disclose the exact cost of the paint job, but confirmed that it’s somewhere around the vicinity of Alvin’s prediction.

As for concerns about needless spending, the palace said the expense was actually budgeted in 2019, and that the repaint would have been carried out for 2020 if it wasn’t for delays due to the pandemic.

“[The paint job is part of] routine maintenance that has been scheduled and must be carried out on time,” Presidential Secretariat Head Heru Budi Hartono said today.

Heru added that the paint job was finished in time ahead of Indonesia’s Independence Day on Aug. 17.

Read the latest news on Coconuts Jakarta

This article, Presidential plane’s paint job panned as pointless pandemic outlay, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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