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Coming soon: New flying machine for Haryana CM Khattar

The aircraft will be purchased at an estimated cost of $62,50,000 (around Rs 40 crore).

india Updated: Apr 04, 2018 10:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Manohar Lal Khattar,Beechcraft King Air,Haryana
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar will now travel in a 10-seater Beechcraft King Air 250, soon to be purchased by the BJP government in state.(Illustration: Biswajit Debnath/HT)

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar will soon be flying high in a state-owned aircraft. Khattar, who had turned down a proposal to get a new state-sponsored airplane for himself and other VVIPs soon after taking over the reins of the state in 2014, will now travel in a 10-seater Beechcraft King Air 250, soon to be purchased by the BJP government in state.

Civil aviation minister Rao Narbir Singh said on Tuesday that aircraft will be purchased at an estimated cost of $62,50,000 (around Rs 40 crore).

“The matter is with a high-powered purchase committee that will negotiate and clinch the deal,” said a civil aviation department official.

The state government had last year shortlisted this aircraft after holding technical consultations with aviation experts and US-based Textron Aviation, the manufacturer of Beechcraft, was called for price negotiation.

The state already has a twin-engine helicopter that was purchased during the Congress rule at a cost of 5.5 million euros (Rs 33 crore) in 2009. A Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft, also bought during the Congress rule, had in 2014 crashed at the Chandigarh airport soon after taking off. The then governor, Jagannath Pahadia, his wife and other officials on board had a miraculous escape.

The first-time BJP chief minister, Khattar, had earlier tried to set an example in austerity by travelling in trains, commercial flights, luxury buses and metro rail, providing plenty of photo ops. But it gradually dawned upon the political and bureaucratic brass that the state government needed another flying machine to cater to the needs of the VVIPs, including the chief minister.

Why it is chosen

The civil aviation official said the Beechcraft King Air 250 — an upgraded version of King Air 200 — has been chosen as it was an ideal machine considering the length of runways at Chandigarh, Delhi and Hisar airports.

“The King Air 250 needs a take-off distance of 2,111 feet that is just right, keeping in view the average length of these airstrips,” he added.

Other purchases

The civil aviation minister said with a view to impart ultra-modern flying training facilities, the state government will also purchase three small Cessna-172 S JTA training aircrafts at a cost of Rs 3.16 crore.

First Published: Apr 04, 2018 10:11 IST