SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new presidential jet entered service Saturday for a three-nation trip by President Moon Jae-in to the Middle East, the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said.
The new presidential plane, a Boeing 747-8i, was placed in commission Thursday. Moon and his entourage flew aboard the new Air Force One for an eight-day trip to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The 213-seat plane was equipped with various security and communication devices, as well as hardware to improve its defense against outside attacks, such as missiles, while new engines increased its cruising speed and maximum total range, the presidential office said.
In 2020, the government signed a five-year contract with Korean Air Lines Co. to lease the new plane.
Under the 300 billion won (US$252.7 million) deal, Korean Air Lines provides pilots, crew members, mechanics, as well as a back-up plane of the same type for the president's overseas trips.
The lease period for the previous presidential jet, B747-400, expired Monday, after flying some 1.62 million kilometers since it entered service in 2010, the office said.