A video of Buddhist monks flying on a private jet has caused controversy in Thailand. According to the London Telegraph, "Office of National Buddhism director-general Nopparat Benjawatananun said on Monday that the agency saw the video early this year and had warned the monks from a monastery in Thailand's northeast not to repeat the lavish behaviour."
Can you imagine Christians holding their religious leaders to the same standards?
I have spent several years researching how religious organizations spend money and I am amazed by how much money is wasted by televangelists and denominations on luxury aircraft. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on these planes and that is no exaggeration. I can prove it.
Last year the Orange County Register reported that Brittany Koper, the granddaughter of TBN's founders and former TBN employee, accused the religious network of buying a $50 million jet via "a sham loan to an alter ego corporation."
TBN has two jets: a Hawker 800XP and a Bombardier BD-700-1A10. The Bombardier Global Express is the jet that allegedly cost $50 million. Orprah's production company Harpo has the same model of jet.
This is a picture of the Harpo jet:
According to the Bombardier jet specification list, this plane can seat up to 19 passengers and 2 crew. In November 2009 AVBuyer compared this jet to the Gulfstream GV and determined that the Bombardier would cost $7.12 per nautical mile to operate if there was a payload of 1,600 pounds or roughly 8 passengers.
Keep in mind there are other costs to owning and operating a jet: hiring a pilot and co-pilot, jet maintanence, landing fees, and hanger fees.
Renting a jet or paying for a first class ticket is significantly cheaper than owning and operating a jet.