'Can Force One' getting old

Canada's "flying Taj Mahal" is getting long in the tooth and may be next in line for replacement.

The 31-year-old plane, used to transport the prime minister and the Governor General around the world, almost made Justin Trudeau late to see the real Taj Mahal last month after a mechanical issue during a refuelling stop in Rome delayed his flight to India.

The VIP aircraft, an Airbus 310-300, is one of five planes in the Royal Canadian Air Force's fleet of CC-150 Polaris military transport planes that were first in service as commercial aircraft in 1987 and bought by the air force in 1992.

A senior government official says the government is studying whether it's time to replace the aging fleet.

The Rome problem involved a damaged sensor that had already been repaired at least once before — and it wasn't the first time the plane has been delayed because of mechanical problems in recent years.

The VIP plane — known officially as Can Force One, but saddled with the Taj Mahal nickname by former Liberal leader Jean Chretien in 1992 — is a far cry from the better-known Air Force One used by the United States president, given its limited flying distance and outdated in-flight communications.

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