PM, Prez to get own planes by early 2020

DNA (Delhi) - - Second Front Page -

New Delhi: In­dia’s first set of brand new planes for the prime min­is­ter, pres­i­dent and vice-pres­i­dent will be cus­tomised and ready for use by early 2020, se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said.

Two Boe­ing 777-300 ERs, bought by Air In­dia re­cently, will be retro­fit­ted to have VIP en­clo­sures, a press con­fer­ence room and a pa­tient trans­port unit for med­i­cal emer­gen­cies. The air­craft will also be equipped with Wi-Fi on board and have an­timis­sile pro­tec­tion, a se­nior of­fi­cial said.

A Boe­ing 777, un­like the older Boe­ing 747, which were bor­rowed from Air In­dia as and when a VVIP vis­ited over­seas, can fly non-stop to the US, thereby dis­pens­ing with the need to halt for re­fu­elling.

In Fe­bru­ary and March, Air In­dia in­ducted three Boe­ing 777 air­craft, com­plet­ing an order of 68 planes placed with the aero­space ma­jor in 2006. Two of these three planes will be set aside ex­clu­sively for VVIP use. “The gov­ern­ment will buy these air­craft from Air In­dia,” a se­nior of­fi­cial told PTI on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

An air­craft ex­clu­sively for VVIPs - such as the Pres­i­dent, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter - will mean that Air In­dia will no more have to ground air­craft from its fleet for spe­cial flights and re-con­fig­ure them to in­clude VIP en­clo­sures, a press con­fer­ence room etc for these op­er­a­tions.

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