Tuesday, June 12, 2018

With Air India remaining unsold, govt drops plan to transfer two B-747s to IAF

New Delhi: Air India’s failed divestment bid has led to the government for now dropping the plan to transfer two of the airline’s Boeing 747s to Indian Air Force for VVIP use post the Maharaja going into private hands. AI has four jumbo jets which are used for long haul flights by top dignitaries like the president and prime minister.
“Since it was felt AI was going to be sold off, the plan was to transfer two of the five B-747s to IAF which already maintain Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) for short haul flights of top VVIPs. However, that need did not arise with AI remaining unsold for now. The dignitaries’ B-747 flights will continue to be operated by the government-owned AI till a decision on the Maharaja’s future is taken,” said sources.
The B-747s used by VVIPs are over 25 year old. AI earlier this year got two two brand new Boeing 777 which will be sent to US-based Boeing Defence for retrofitting with the latest security and communication systems and be ready for VVIP use in 18 months.
The idea is to keep VVIP aircraft under a government agency like IAF which already operates the BBJs. Some personnel from AI like experienced pilots and technicians would have been taken from AI rolls to some other government unit.
11/06/18 Sauabh Sinha/Times of India