New York mayor Bill de Blasio returned home Thursday from his vacation property in Canada on a $3 million plane purchased by the city for counter-terrorism operations, the Daily News reports.
De Blasio, who flew to Canada on a commercial flight, was returning to New York City to attend a ceremony renaming a city street after a fallen NYPD officer. It was the first time he used the plane, according to City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips.
The plane, which is outfitted with high-tech sensors and infrared cameras, was purchased to conduct flyovers of New York Harbor and examine incoming ships for radiation. The city paid for 25 percent of the plane’s total cost while the Department of Homeland Security covered the remaining 75 percent.
“If we detect a potential dirty bomb in the port, it’s already too close,” Inspector James Coan, commanding officer of the NYPD Aviation Unit, told the Daily News in October. “The plane allows us to detect an anomaly a half-a-day to a day before it reaches the port.”
De Blasio previously faced criticism for using an NYPD helicopter to travel from Brooklyn to Queens in 2014. “I really don’t understand what this is all about,” he told reporters at the time when asked about the controversy.
The Democratic mayor’s use of a city-owned SUV to travel eleven miles to his preferred YMCA gym in Park Slope, Brooklyn has also drawn criticism from activists, who claim it is at odds with his public environmental advocacy.