Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian delegation were stranded in New Delhi after their official aircraft, the Airbus CC-150 Polaris, experienced technical issues. The delegation had to remain in India until alternative transportation was arranged. The Polaris fleet, which is under the command of the Royal Canadian Air Force, has had previous incidents, including damage during towing operations and an accidental collision with another aircraft. The Canadian government has awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract to replace the Polaris fleet with new Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, scheduled for delivery in 2027.
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After the conclusion of the G20 Summit on September 10, 2023, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian delegation encountered technical difficulties with their official aircraft, the Airbus CC-150 Polaris (registered as 15001), leaving them stranded in New Delhi. According to Trudeau’s staff, the plane’s issues could not be fixed quickly, forcing the delegation to remain in India until alternative transportation was arranged. Interestingly, on the same day, another Polaris aircraft (registered as 15002) took off from Canadian Forces Base Trenton and diverted to London Stansted Airport.
It’s worth mentioning that the Polaris fleet, which is under the operational command of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) 437 Transport Squadron, has faced its fair share of incidents. For instance, in October 2019, 15001 suffered damage during a towing operation at CFB Trenton due to faulty equipment and inadequate training of towing personnel. Additionally, on July 22, 2023, Polaris aircraft 15003 collided with a parked A400M aircraft during a towing operation at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
In light of the issues faced by the Polaris fleet, the Government of Canada took a significant step in July 2023 and awarded Airbus Defence and Space a €2.1 billion contract to replace the fleet. This contract includes the acquisition of four state-of-the-art Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, as well as the conversion of five previously owned A330-200s into MRTTs. These new aircraft, expected to be designated as CC-330 Husky, are scheduled for delivery in 2027.
Fun fact: The nickname “Taj Mahal” for the CC-150 Polaris aircraft was coined by former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, highlighting its significance in transporting the Canadian Prime Minister during official travel.
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