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UN chief slashes aircraft operational costs

UN chief slashes aircraft operational costs
UN Secretary-General António Guterres
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The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has launched an initiative to reduce aircraft operational costs by increasing the efficiency in the use of the organisation’s air assets.

Guterres said the measure was part of the Secretariat’s ongoing review of costs and ensure effective use of resources provided by Member States, according to a statement issued by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Thursday.

He said the UN currently deploys 58 fixed-wing and 157 rotary-wing aircraft in 12 peacekeeping and six special political missions.

The annual cost of these aircraft was close to 750 million dollars in 2015 to 2016, the UN chief added.

Guterres noted that these assets provide essential logistics and military enabling capabilities, given their significant cost implications.

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The Secretary-General has, however, asked the heads of field missions to systematically analyze and adjust the composition and utilisation of their fleet and seek alternative solutions that may be more cost-effective.

“This is an opportunity for mission to innovate. Mandate delivery is of course at the core of defining logistics and safety must remain paramount,” he said.

As the analysis is ongoing, the Secretary-General requested with immediate effect that passenger movements be limited to critical mandated tasks.

The UN chief also directed that non-mission passengers be reduced, and schedules be more finely tuned to allow for reduced fleets.

Special flights must also become exceptional, the Secretary-General directed.

Guterres said that “the Secretariat bears a great burden of responsibility when it comes to the judicious use of funding and assets provided by Member States”.

He had also asked the Department of Field Support to lead and coordinate this initiative at Headquarters.

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