Given that Argentina’s Navy had a training frigate, the ARA Libertad, impounded in Ghana for 78 days as part of a bitter legal battle between U.S. investment funds and the Argentine government over defaulted debt, it is perhaps prudent that the country’s president is not putting her official aircraft at risk of a similar inconvenience during a visit to the Middle East and Asia this week. President Cristina Fernández has chartered a private plane for the trip instead. She will be using the services of Chapman, Freeborn, a British VIP jet charter broker that she has used before over the past couple of years and which established a Buenos Aires office last year.
The bill will be $880,000, 20% more expensive, a presidential spokesman says, than it would have cost to fly in the presidential Boeing 757, Tango 01 (that is tango as in the military call sign for T for transport rather than the dance). A small premium to pay, though, for avoiding an involuntary layover, should what Argentina decries as the “vulture funds” descend again, an event that government lawyers considered highly probable. Pointedly, the president will fly off after welcoming the ARA Libertad back to Mar del Plata following its release by Ghana.