Prime minister’s aircraft grounded after hangar accident

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be hitching rides on a variety of air force planes for the foreseeable future.

The CF-150 Polaris Airbus that usually shuttles the prime minister to world events is out of commission following a hangar accident last month.

The nearly 30-year-old passenger aircraft, which is specially outfitted with a private cabin, was being towed “by contracted maintenance personnel” at the military’s largest airbase in Trenton, Ont., when it “suffered significant structural damage to the nose and right engine cowling,” said air force spokesman Lt.-Col Steve Neta.

The aircraft rolled into the back wall of a hangar.

“The incident remains under investigation to determine causes and identify preventive measures,” Neta added.

Engineering teams from Airbus, the aircraft’s original maker, conducted an assessment and concluded the aircraft will not return to service until August of next year.

Neta said an air safety investigation is underway.

“We do not have sufficient detail about potential costs, or the attribution of those costs, to provide any detail at this time,” he said.

Trudeau is attending the NATO summit in London this week; he flew to the U.K. on one of the air force’s other C-150s. Neta said the military is confident it can fill the gap in VIP transportation during the interim.

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