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Buy a plane for the price of a Merc

Planning to spend Rs 50 lakh on a luxury car? Just wait a second. What if you get an aircraft for a lesser price? For Rs 40 lakh, you can bring home a four-seater, fully functioning aircraft. Avijit Ghosal tells us.

business Updated: Feb 24, 2008 02:50 IST
Avijit Ghosal

Planning to spend Rs 50 lakh on a luxury car? Wait a second. What if you get an aircraft for a lesser price? For Rs 40 lakh, you can bring home a four-seater, fully functioning aircraft. And about 90 per cent of the finance can be arranged, so that way, after a down payment of Rs 4-5 lakh, the aircraft is yours. Payback period: 10 years. Interested?

Kolkata-based Aerotech Aerospace Services is selling this dream. Says managing director Partha Pratim Datta Majumdar, “Those who think aircraft cost the earth and sky and thus, keep them out of their list of aspirations, should think again.”

According to Majumdar, a second-hand US-made Cessna 172 would cost as little as Rs 40 lakh. About 50 of these airplanes are already in operation in India currently, he says, adding, “In the US, many doctors use these aircraft.”

What about operating costs? Avgas, the high-octane aviation fuel that these aircraft (and racing cars) use, costs Rs 80 a litre, and could get cheaper post-budget. Parking charges, in Kolkata, are between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 a month. Third party maintenance is relatively expensive at Rs 70,000 to Rs 1 lakh a month — still insignificant before the snob value planes offer. And you can obtain a private pilot’s licence in several cities if you fulfill requirements.

Majumdar has already sold no fewer than 16 aircraft over the past five years, and is about to sell at least one plane and two helicopters in Kolkata this year.

He says, “If aircraft aren’t selling by the dozen, it is only because of the lack of awareness.” He is now planning a seminar with high net worth individuals to spread the lure of the sky.