Indonesia's new presidential plane arrives


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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's new $91 million presidential plane arrived Thursday after several months of delay.

The Boeing 737-800 plane landed at Halim Perdanakusuma air force base, in the eastern part of Jakarta, to a welcoming ceremony presided over by State Secretary Sudi Silalahi.

The plane, named Republik Indonesia, was to have arrived late last year but was delayed after the government requested customized designs.

Silalahi says the plane will go into official operation after it receives a certificate from the Ministry of Defense.

The purchase of the plane was approved by Parliament in 2010, with the aim of cutting costs by replacing the need to rent jets for presidential trips.

Silalahi says $10 million a year could be saved by using the plane instead of renting jets for presidential tours at home and abroad.

In the past, Indonesia had used an Ilyushin Il-18, a gift from Soviet Union, and a Sikorsky Helicopter from U.S. President Kennedy as official planes for President Sukarno, the country's first president who died in 1970.

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The Associated Press

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