French air force chief under fire for taking fighter jet for weekend trips to Provence

French air force chief under fire for taking fighter jet for weekend trips to Provence
General Reboul heads home to Provence for a glass of Rosé on Friday. Well, not quite, this is actually a File Photo: AFP
The acting chief of the French air force has put himself in the line of fire after reportedly using a fighter jet to fly home to his country house in Provence for weekends.

Instead of taking the train or popping in his car, former fighter pilot General Richard Reboul would pop from Bordeaux in the south west to his country retreat in Provence, 600km away in the south east, using an Alphajet training aircraft belonging to the French air force, the French newspaper Canard Enchainé alleged this week.

According to the newspaper the general, who is in charge of a training school for air force pilots and acting chief of the French air force, had been making the one-hour round-trip in the training jet since August last year.

The Canard Enchainé also alleged the air force boss once commandeered a military transport plane, complete with pilot and a co-pilot to head to his weekend home.

The revelations have presented France’s new defence minister Florence Parly with an immediate scandal she must now try to deal with.

The minister ordered an immediate investigation into the allegations, which will be carried out internally by the air force.

“Information about an abusive use of air force assets by a senior military official has been handed to the minister of defence,” a ministry statement read.

The new defence minister also ordered a report into the use of military jets so she could have clarification on when exactly they can be used.

The statement said disciplinary proceedings would be launched if an “abuse of resources” was proven.

The French Air Force's chief of staff General André Lanata has also opened a probe.

In 2014 an Alpha Jet crashed into a home for disabled people during a training exercise that left one person dead and five injured.

The accident occurred when the Alpha Jet was being used in a night flying exercise near Vouvray, in the Loire valley.

French jet crashes into home for disabled