APACL pushes for aircraft for CM

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APACL pushes for aircraft for CM
APACL pushes for aircraft for CM

Contrary to the wishes of former chief minister K Rosaiah who declined to have an aircraft, the Andhra Pradesh Aviation Corporation Limited (APACL) has again put forward a proposal to acquiring an aircraft for Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy considering his security aspect.

It was made in the demand for grants of roads, buildings and ports department for 2011-12 by R and B minister Dharmana Prasada Rao.  
The R and B provided APACL an amount of Rs 23 crore in the budget estimates for 2011-12 to meet the expenditure on operation and maintenance of the aircraft and also for hiring of helicopter from other sources when the state helicopter is grounded for normal maintenance.
Former chief minister Mr Rosaiah had expressed reluctance at that time when such a proposal was put forward, keeping in view the sluggish economic situation of the state.


The CMO at that time had proposed to buy a 15-seater aircraft after Mr Rosaiah had expressed reluctance to fly in a helicopter. This reluctance had been attributed to the chopper crash which claimed the life of Mr Rosaiah’s predecessor YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

He had opted to travel by train on many occasions, despite keeping ill health on account of his advanced age. Mr Rosaiah had specified to the officials not to entertain such proposals as there was no necessity to spend such huge amounts for such a costly aircraft. 
In fact, the proposal to purchase a private jet was first mooted in 2008, when the late YSR was the chief minister. This proposal was dropped due to the financial crunch the state faced. Interestingly despite same financial situation arising, the said proposal gained grounds.

This time however, the security aspect has forced the administration to have a rethink on the proposal of going ahead with the purchase of a private jet.

The APACL has been using the AW-139 to fly VIPs, including Governor, Chief Minister and Union Ministers and for attending to relief works in the aftermath of natural calamities and police emergencies. 

The APACL had two helicopters -- Bell 430 and Augusta Westland 139 (AW-139) -- of which the Bell-430 was destroyed in a crash that killed the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.   

According to highly placed sources, the CMO hopes that new airports with runways to handle a small jet will be ready in at least some places in the state.
While regular flights are available only to four locations in the state outside Hyderabad, where airports are in operation, rail route is the only other option left before the officials.
Though the government proposes to build new airports at seven other locations in the state