America distances itself from Ruto’s Sh200m jet

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024 04:05 | By
President William Ruto and first lady Rachel Ruto when they arrived in the United States of America to begin a three-day state visit. PHOTO/PCS
President William Ruto and first lady Rachel Ruto when they arrived in the United States of America to begin a three-day state visit. PHOTO/PCS

The United States government has said it did not pay for President William Ruto’s private jet to America on Sunday.

The high cost of Ruto’s flight to the US has elicited debates in the country after it was said that trip would cost around Sh200 million.

A spokesperson of the US Embassy in Nairobi denied reports but said the US government would be responsible for all the bills while President Ruto is in the US. This will include transport within, accommodation and food.

The only thing the Kenyan government will stand for are allowances for the Kenyan delegation and transport from the US back to Kenya.

“Just to be clear: The United States of America did not pay for President Ruto’s jet to the US,” said the spokesman.

The US has also vowed to support Kenya in health, governance, war on corruption, institutional strengthening, civil society and free press.

President William Ruto started his historic four-day State visit to the US, which kicked off in Atlanta on Monday, the first by an African leader in 15 years.

The President left Kenya on a leased aircraft provided by RoyalJet, a company based in the United Arab Emirates. RoyalJet is a partnership between Abu Dhabi Aviation and the Presidential Flight (Abu Dhabi Amiri Flight).

Within RoyalJet’s collection of aircraft, President Ruto was allocated a Boeing Business Jet B737-77W.

Records indicate that a one-way flight from Nairobi to Atlanta costs USD 748,600 (Sh98 million). Since the President is scheduled to fly to Washington, it is expected that it will cost over Sh200 million.

Spacious bedroom

The aircraft has spacious bedroom and dining area, space for meeting and conference, VIP seats and ample luggage capacity among others.

Additional payment is expected for flying the aircraft from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi.

The jet left Abu Dhabi on Saturday morning and landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 12.40pm. President Ruto left on Sunday night at 9.48pm and landed in Spain on Monday around 5.30am.

His plane later touched down at Hartsfiled Jackson International Airport shortly after 10am local time. There, he was received by Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and a delegation of American leaders.

President Ruto’s visit underscored the US-Kenya partnership to build healthier communities in both countries.

“In forty years, the Kenya-US CDC partnership has enhanced Kenya’s health infrastructure, conducted research, and implemented interventions that have saved numerous lives by curbing infectious diseases,” President Ruto said.

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