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GM asks FAA to drop jet tracking

November 27, 2008|bloomberg news

General Motors Corp., criticized by U.S. lawmakers for its use of corporate jets, asked regulators to block the public's ability to track a plane it uses.

"We availed ourselves of the option as others do to have the aircraft removed" from a Federal Aviation Administration tracking service, GM spokesman Greg Martin said Wednesday. He declined to discuss why GM made the request.

The jet dropped from the monitoring service is a Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV leased from GE Capital Solutions in Danbury, Conn., a unit of General Electric Co. After the plane's latest flight to Washington on Tuesday, its movements could no longer be tracked.

Flight data show that the jet flew Nov. 18 from Detroit to Washington, where Chief Executive Rick Wagoner spoke to a Senate committee that day and a House panel the next day on behalf of a $25-billion auto industry rescue plan.

At the Nov. 19 House hearing, representatives, including Democrat Gary L. Ackerman of New York, faulted Wagoner, Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally and Chrysler CEO Robert L. Nardelli for taking private jets to Washington to plead their case.

"Couldn't you all have downgraded to first class?" Ackerman said.

Critics of a federal aid package for the automakers spotlighted the exchange to attack the companies as undeserving of a bailout. GM has said it may run out of operating cash by year's end without government loans.

GM also has seven planes in its own fleet. Two are for sale and two are in the process of being listed for sale, said spokesman Tom Wilkinson.

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