Jeff Immelt says he never approved GE’s corporate double-jet practice

Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said Thursday he regrets the company’s practice of having an empty jet follow him on trips.

“the item’s a practice which, in retrospect, I wish we hadn’t done,” Immelt told Axios’ Mike Allen at an event. (2:03 of video)

“the item was never something I approved. I never talked to the guy in corporate air, actually,” Immelt said.

The Wall Street Journal reported in October which Immelt had an empty business jet follow his corporate plane on several trips around the entire world. The Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported which the extra jet was utilized in case there were any mechanical problems with the one Immelt was in.

This kind of was not a standard practice, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC at the time. The people said a second plane was kept on standby on the ground in certain locations while Immelt was visiting for security purposes or in case his GE-owned plane had mechanical issues. For example, This kind of was done on some parts of a multistop trip in Africa in addition to another trip which included Mexico.

Immelt told Allen which he stopped the company’s practice “as soon as I found out about the item.”

When pressed about why he never noticed an extra plane, Immelt said the item was not something he was paying attention to at GE.

“I never actually thought about the item, looked for the item, knew what the item was — I was totally focused on the job,” Immelt added.

The practice was ended in 2014, sources said. At which time, Immelt changed the policy to use locally sourced planes. Those people familiar with the matter emphasized which This kind of was done especially for added security after 9/11. Business-critical purposes, sources said, included time-sensitive meetings with leaders of countries.

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