As the U.S. Secretary of State, you would expect to enjoy unhindered and luxurious, private air travel to take you between your important meetings, often at short notice, around the globe.
But for John Kerry, air travel has been anything but comfortable this year as his personal U.S. Air Force plane broke down, so to speak, for the fourth time yesterday in Vienna, and he was forced to take a commercial airliner back home.
Kerry, who was in Vienna for vital talks with Iranian negotiators over their nuclear program, tickled the Iranian team, who made an off-the-cuff reference to the fact he was unable to take off in his plane, “So it is not just our planes,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told a reporter from the Al Monitor news site.
He was of course referring to Iran’s own airline industry and the national carrier’s fleet of Boeing jets that have been crippled by decades of U.S. sanctions. And, the sanctions are no joke as they have heavily affected Iran’s ability to purchases spare parts and fuel.
At the time of John Kerry’s embarrassing fourth plane breakdown this year, the State Department staff and journalists who were traveling with Kerry were informed on Thursday that the State Secretary’s Boeing 757 needed “unspecified repairs,” as reported by AFP.
Others in the media have also reacted to news of the latest breakdown with irony, Laura Rozen, foreign policy and Middle East reporter for Al-Monitor, wrote on Twitter, “Maybe the Iranians can send us a plane.”
Back in March John Kerry’s flight was delayed for several hours in London while a technical problem was fixed in his plane. In January, a new transponder for Kerry’s plane had to be flown from the US to Switzerland, where the secretary of state was participating in international talks on the Syrian conflict.
Interestingly, despite the plane issues, John Kerry has flown some 566,000 miles around the globe and visited 55 countries since he took office in February 2013.