Raje Govt Wants Plane More Powerful than PM’s
Rajasthan tender asks for aircraft that can fly to Europe; earlier state tender for Agusta choppers was withdrawn
Anubhuti Vishnoi & Manu Pubby
New Delhi: An aircraft that can fly the chief minister to Europe, and has a bigger flying range than executive jets used by the prime minister for domestic travel – that’s what the Rajasthan government wants.
The tender with this specification will likely create another aviationrelated controversy. The first one was the Vasundhara Raje administration’s preference for scandal-mired AgustaWestland’s choppers. The Agusta tender was withdrawn. ET had reported on December 14 (‘Raje Govt Flies into an Agusta Controversy’) that the tender bent government procurement rules on competitive selection.
ET has learnt that the Raje government had floated a tender late last year for leasing an executive jet. Specifications required by the state administration make this jet more powerful than anything available with the union government and used for domestic travel. The PM uses Indian Air Force-maintained Embraer jets.
The Rajasthan government’s Directorate of Civil Aviation issued a tender on 28 November, 2016 for hiring a mid-size aircraft on long-term basis. Tech- nical specifications stipulate a flying range and cruising altitude far above norms for chief ministerial aircraft, people familiar with the government tender said. They spoke to ET on the condition they not be identified.
State government political VIPs typically don’t use aircraft with high-performance parameters such as those sought by the Rajasthan government. For example, the PM’s Embraer jet doesn’t have the 3,200 nautical mile range that the Raje government wants for its executive jet. Even the distance between Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram is 2,300 nautical miles, considerably less than the range specified by the tender.