Divyank Trakia, a 28-year-old entrepreneur, can hardly wait for next weekend.
Instead of the usual pub-hopping, he will pilot his latest acquisition, a six-seater Turbo Stationair aircraft.
“It was a dream to have my own flying machine,” said the co-founder of a marketing portal for whom flying is a hobby. He now awaits a final clearance, expected this week.
Trakia — who got his private pilot licence in 10 days from a US-based flying school last year — is amongst a small but growing breed of young fliers prepared to splurge to soar.
While the price of a new aircraft starts at Rs 1 crore, a second-hand one could range between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 80 lakh.
In the past year, the cost of twin-engine or single-engine planes has dropped by 25 to 30 per cent while sales have soared.
Airnetz aviation, a city-based private charter company, said sales figures have risen 40 to 50 per cent during this time.
“I got my flying licence when I was 20. It took me 10 years to get the right price for buying a plane,” said Nilesh Shanklesha, a city-based jeweller.
“There are about 395 people who fly as a hobby in India. The number is only growing,” said Ameya Gore, spokesperson, Airnetz aviation.
The number of operators for non-scheduled — or private chartered — aircraft has grown from 75 to 135 in the past year.
“Those who fly as a hobby often order their aircraft through non-scheduled operators, who do not have to pay import duty,” said an official from a private charter firm requesting anonymity.