GM asks government to block public tracking of jet

General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner talks about cost cutting restructuring during a news conference at GM Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Motors Corp GM.N, whose chief executive was blasted last week by U.S. lawmakers for flying on a private jet to ask for public funds, has asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to prevent public tracking of a jet it leases.

“We availed ourselves of the same option as others have,” to have the plane removed from the FAA’s tracking service, a GM spokesman, Greg Martin, said Thursday.

He declined to comment on why GM made the request or when the company expects the FAA to decide whether to grant it.

Last week, GM said it would return two of its leased corporate jets.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner had traveled to Washington, D.C., to testify about the carmaker's dire financial situation and plead, along with the chief executives of Ford Motor Co F.N and Chrysler LLC, for $25 billion in aid from the federal government.

Lawmakers took the companies’ executives to task for their luxurious travel arrangements.

“Couldn’t you have downgraded to first class or something, or jet-pooled?” Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat, asked at the hearing held by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

Spokespersons from Chrysler or Ford were not immediately available for comment on whether their companies had made similar requests with the FAA.

Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Marguerita Choy