Minister’s jet jaunt confirmed

The government spokesman yesterday refused to comment on a Kathimerini report that Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou wasted taxpayers’ money on a private jet during a recent visit to the USA when he could have taken a commercial flight. Christos Protopappas simply referred to a Defense Ministry statement which admitted that Papantoniou had chartered the jet for his journeys in the USA – where he took part in an informal summit of NATO defense ministers last week – but said he had no other option. According to information made available to Kathimerini, it cost $45,000 (38,100 euros) to charter the jet. The Defense Ministry denied that figure, saying the real cost was «lower than that,» but gave no further details. It added that Papantoniou had had no other way of getting to the summit in time, and said the «vast majority» of defense ministers and NATO officials had also used «special flights.» The cost of the chartered jet, it said, «did not vary significantly from the transportation costs involved in a commercial flight.»