MANILA - Members of the media waiting for the arrival of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had a moment of confusion when a small, unmarked Gulfstream jet landed, taxied and slowly proceeded to the arrival area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 where the welcoming delegation was waiting.
Only a handful of vehicles waited for Lee's convoy, and a boarding ramp vehicle was not even used because the jet only needed its built-in ladder.
It was not until the jet parked in front of the red carpet and Prime Minister Lee came out with his wife, Madame Ho Ching, that the media was absolutely sure that it was the aircraft that carried Lee and his party.
For the hordes of journalists who have gotten used to covering more than a dozen world leaders who arrived on board their jumbo jet flag carriers, and even their own presidential airplanes for some, like the Air Force One of US President Barack Obama, seeing a small private jet flying the Singapore leader was slightly out of the norm.
Singapore is, after all, one of the richest economies in the world with a GDP per capita (income per individual) of $55,182 (that is 20 times the GDP per capita of the Philippines).
Lee has been known to use commercial flights as well while traveling on official business.