Shane Cowlishaw at Dom Post reports:
The air force’s fleet of Skyhawks have been collecting dust since they were grounded more than 10 years ago.
It was announced in November that United States company JDI Holdings had signed a bargain deal worth $7.9 million for the eight remaining aircraft that have not already been given to museums.
But the deal, including spare parts and engines, relied on approval from the US State Department. A previous deal with US aviation training provider Tactical Air Services fell through late in 2010 because of a delay in similar approval.
Draken International, an operating arm of JDI Holdings, confirmed it had received approval to buy not only the Skyhawks but also nine of New Zealand’s Aermacchi jet training aircraft.
$8 million is better than nothing. But what have they cost to store?
Figures provided under the Official Information Act show the air combat force has cost the New Zealand Defence Force $37.4m to maintain and operate since it was disbanded in 2001.
Money down the drain.
I’m still quite angry over the killing off of the combat wing – mainly because there was no election mandate for it, and it is one of those changes when once made, is almost impossible to reverse.