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Rediff.com  » Business » Rs 67 crore VIP jet for Maharashtra by year-end

Rs 67 crore VIP jet for Maharashtra by year-end

July 14, 2008 18:16 IST

Maharashtra government would purchase a Rs 67 crore (Rs 670-million) eight-seater jet aircraft. The aircraft would be at its disposal by the end of December.

The aircraft -- a Cessna Citation XLS -- has a range of about 1,800 nautical miles, a senior official told PTI on Monday.

The state Cabinet cleared a proposal to procure the aircraft for the state VIPs, including Governor, chief minister and deputy chief minister, on May 22 and the order was placed recently, he said.

The aircraft is also meant for use by visiting VIPs and chief justice of high court, he added.

The government had received tenders from US-based companies Cessna and Hawker. The tenders were examined by a high-level committee headed by state chief secretary Johny Joseph.

Though the aircraft cost in both the tenders were similar, Cessna was selected as it was lighter as compared to Hawker and is easy to land at any airstrip in Maharashtra.

"The Cessna Citation XLS can land even at airstrips of 3,500 feet," the official said. Its range also makes it an ideal mode of VIP transport across the country, he said.

This aircraft will replace the existing 10 year-old aircraft for which the government has been incurring additional expenditure on maintenance, he added. 

The official refuted reports in a section of the media that Maharashtra will be the first state to have a jet aircraft.

"Uttar Pradesh has a jet aircraft, a Premier 1A from Beachcraft, although its seating capacity is less -- around six passengers," he said.

The UP government has requisitioned services of two Air Force officers, both Wing Commanders, for their aircraft, the official said. The Jammu and Kashmir government has also placed an order for a turbo prop aircraft two-three months ago, he added.

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