Above Us All. The cost of the president’s secret flights

It’s no secret these days that President Klaus Iohannis has a taste for travelling in luxury jets. What his office wants to keep under wraps is the details of how much it pays for this presidential pleasure.

In May, Recorder published a demonstration. Early in his first term of office, Iohannis flew with TAROM, and his office disclosed the costs down to the last penny. Nine years ago, that’s how we imagined “A proper Romania” would be. But at some point, that film broke down. In the sequel, the president can’t even go from Constanța to Sibiu without a luxury jet courtesy of the taxpayer. In the first half of 2023, he flew in five different high-end charter jets within as many months.

We wanted to know whether hiring a business jet and covering up the costs was the norm anywhere else. So we carried out a test by requesting this information from the offices of several presidents of European countries that had been represented at the same event. The result isn’t a huge surprise: it turns out that Romania is the only EU nation whose president travels in private jets and then classifies the costs.

So we took things a stage further and tried to get answers to three key questions. How much do flights like these cost? When did flying in private jets become standard practice for our president? And who decided that all this should become secret all of a sudden?

The English version of this article and the English subtitles of the video are available thanks to Peter Shortall.

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