PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) used a private charter jet to travel to the UN Climate Change Conference held in Madrid, Spain, in December, reports Maaseudun Tulevaisuus.
A government spokesperson stated to the thrice-weekly newspaper that a charter flight can be chosen as the means of transport if scheduled flights are not available or they do not match the meeting or travel schedule of the prime minister and her delegation.
The Finnish government has not disclosed the share of charter flights used by cabinet members because because it varies on a year-by-year basis. The prime minister and minister for foreign affairs use more charter flights than their fellow cabinet members due to not only their travel destinations and frequency, but also because of schedules.
The spokesperson also said the costs of charter flights are not monitored separately from other travel costs, meaning there is no data on how much the use of private jets costs taxpayers on a yearly basis.
Most of the flights, however, fall within the reimbursement scheme of the European Union.
The government has refused to comment on whether the use of private jets has increased or decreased in recent years. It has underlined, however, that all charter flights are procured in accordance with the framework agreement tendered by Hansel, the central procurement organisation for central and local governments in Finland.
All service providers contracted through the framework have also been asked to provide a report of environmental actions.
The government spokesperson also refrained from commenting on the environmental impact of the charter flights but pointed out that the jets chartered under the framework agreement have been registered and commissioned after 2000, meaning they do not produce as much emissions as before.