Secretary of State John Kerry was forced to fly home to Washington, D.C. from Vienna aboard a commercial flight on Thursday, after his Air Force C-32 developed a leak in an auxiliary fuel tank. This was the fourth mechanical mishap for the plane this year.
USAF C-32 via Aero Icarus on Flickr (CC Commercial License)
Kerry gets around a lot in the C-32 (a modified Boeing 757) he uses as America's top ambassador. The Arab News reports Kerry has flown some 566,000 miles around the globe and visited 55 countries — many of them multiple times — spending some 249 days on the road, since February, 2013. In August, Kerry also had to fly commercially from Hawaii back to D.C. due to electrical problems on the plane. Earlier this year, a new transponder had to be flown from the U.S. to Switzerland, and it also suffered a similar issue in London, in March.
While it might not seem like a first-world problem for Kerry to have to fly commercially, the C-32 is equipped with secure phone lines and access to top secret data, as multiple world crises are at state, such as Ebola and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Aides said every minute of Kerry's schedule during the day is planned, and that he had to reschedule calls with several world leaders.
The Seattle Times reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif laughed upon hearing of the plane's problems, saying, "So it's not just our planes." Sanctions against Iran since 1979 have kept the country from updating their Boeing fleet.
Top photo via Getty Images