Rs 72-cr Airbus helicopter for Maharashtra CM, governor arrives

Updated on Oct 03, 2019 06:51 AM IST

The decision to procure two helicopters at the cost of ₹200 crore, was taken in September 2017, after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s Sikorsky S76 chopper crash-landed in Nilanga in May 2017

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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By

The new chief minister, who will be elected following the Assembly polls later this month, will have a brand new Airbus H145 helicopter at his disposal. The helicopter, procured a few weeks ago for Rs 72 crore, is being assembled while the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) deals with administrative clearances.

“We have received the delivery of the Airbus H145 a few days ago. Our team of three pilots led by Captain Sanjay Karve had gone through the 50-day training at a Munich training centre recently. Before the helicopter is put in use for VVIPs, it needs to go through the mandatory security flying of 75 hours. It will be completed in the next three weeks. The helicopter will be used for winching, anti-Maoist operations and disaster management, besides transporting VVIPs. It can be converted into an air ambulance if need be,” said an official from the aviation wing of the state government.

Two years back, the state cabinet decided to buy two helicopters for the transport of VVIPs and for other purposes like winching and anti-Maoist operations. Along with the Airbus, the government was planning to purchase a Sikorsky S76-D by US firm Lockheed Martin at a cost of more than Rs 120 crore. The helicopter was meant to be exclusively for VVIPs including the governor, chief minister, and senior ministers. The state government had entered into a deal with the firm, but later cancelled it after deviations in the agreement clauses.

In the wake of scrapping the deal for the Sikorsky S76-D, the state government will reissue a tender for a VVIP chopper.

The decision to procure two helicopters at the cost of Rs 200 crore, was taken in September 2017, after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s Sikorsky S76 chopper crash-landed in Nilanga in May 2017. Fadnavis narrowly escaped another accident in Alibaug on July 07, 2017, when the chopper took off before he could get in.

Following the incident, the state government suspended chopper operations for VVIPs during the monsoon. The CM and other VVIPs currently either use helicopters hired from empanelled agencies or the Cessna Citation 560XLS aircraft owned by the government.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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