RBS and Citigroup cancel jets for top executives

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The Independent Online

Royal Bank of Scotland and Citigroup have cancelled orders for private jets for top executives in the wake of the financial crash and a public backlash over corporate perks, French planemaker Dassault Aviation said today.

RBS was bailed out by the Government late last year and is mired in a row over a £16.6m pension pot for former Chief Executive Fred Goodwin.

RBS placed the order for a state-of-the-art Falcon 7X business jet worth $40-45 million (£27m-£31m) about five years ago, and the plane was due to be delivered this year.

But the bank, now controlled by the Government, cancelled the order late last year, Dassault civil aerospace business head Olivier Villa told Reuters.

Asked whether the 19-seat plane, capable of flying from London to Tokyo, was intended for Goodwin's use, Villa said he did not know but assumed the aircraft was for the bank's "top executive team".

Citigroup scrapped orders at around the same time for three Falcon 7X jets, Villa added.

The business jet market has been severely hit by the recession and negative publicity in the United States, Dassault Aviation CEO Charles Edelstenne told a news conference earlier, adding that business jets still made economic sense.

"In the last three months there have been more cancellations than orders," he said. "We have some of the most prestigious clients. (Citigroup's) Citibank was one of them. RBS was another. And, of course, they have cancelled."