This is the direct opposite of what his predecessor Michael Sata used to do as he used to travel on commercial flights for such trips. Sata used to travel on Emirates planes to UN functions.
But Lungu saw it fit to hire a big private jet from Europe to take him and his huge delegation to the UN at the time everyone in the country is complaining of poverty. The government delayed to pay civil servants this month as it was still scouting money.
Information availed show that Lungu chartered the plane for one way (trip) at $150,000, which roughly translates to K1.6 million ZMW or K1.6 Billion old currency. The return trip will cost Zambian Tax payers the same amount of $150,000 bringing the total to USD $300, 000 or K3.2 billion old currency.
This money is just for the flight. The PF government is also paying daily rates for parking the chartered plane until they return. In USA, there is no free parking. So the PF government has paid another expensive company, Sheltair, to keep the hired plane until it brings Lungu and his officials to Lusaka.
A look at the photo shows Lungu just after alighting from the plane. This is not the Zambian Presidential Challenger. This is a plane from Europe. The presidential Challenger, together with all Zambia planes, is banned from entering USA and EU because it does not meet safety standards.
Even the pilot and crew standing outside the plane are certainly not ZAF pilots who operate the presidential challenger. Those are white crewmembers. It is standard procedure and practice for the pilot and his crew to go to the exit as passengers leave the plane, but for privately chartered planes, pilots are required to step outside the plane to say bye-bye to ‘rich passengers who hire such expensive planes.
Lungu and his officials will also be paid travel, accommodation, shopping and other allowances.