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Business News/ Elections / Lok Sabha polls 2024: Hourly fares of chartered aircraft surge to 5.25 lakh
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Lok Sabha polls 2024: Hourly fares of chartered aircraft surge to ₹5.25 lakh

The use of helicopters is being seen more in bigger states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

Lok Sabha polls 2024: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter arrives during a public meeting in Nawada. (PTI)Premium
Lok Sabha polls 2024: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter arrives during a public meeting in Nawada. (PTI)

Demand for chartered planes and helicopters has surged to 40% as political leaders dash around the country to woo voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls 2024. The demand for chartered planes is 30-40% higher in this year's general elections compared to the previous polls, Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) Managing Director Captain R K Bali told PTI news agency.

Besides, the hourly rates for chartered services have also witnessed a spike in view of Lok Sabha polls. Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI) President (Western Region) Captain Uday Gelli told PTI that normally the hourly rate for single-engine helicopters is around 80,000 to 90,000 while it is about 1.5 to 1.7 lakh for twin-engine helicopters. 

However, during the election time, “Rate is higher at up to 1.5 lakh for single-engine helicopters and up to 3.5 lakh for twin-engine helicopters". For the chartered aircraft, the prices can vary between 4.5 lakh to 5.25 lakh per hour, he added. A single-engine helicopter has a seating capacity for up to 7 people, including a pilot while a twin-engine helicopter can accommodate up to 12 people.

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With more use of aircraft by political parties during election campaigning, the earnings of the chartered plane operators may shoot up more than 15-20% compared to normal times, an official said.

Gelli said the use of helicopters is being seen more in bigger states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

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As per the official data, there were 112 Non-Scheduled Operators (NSOPs) at the end of December 2023. Generally, NSOPs are entities that do not have a particular fixed schedule and fly when there is a requirement. These operators have aircraft and helicopters, with seating capacities varying from 3 to 37. The planes include Falcon 2000, Bombardier Global 5000, Twin Otter DHC-6-300, Hawker Beechcraft, Gulfstream G-200, and Cessna Citation 560XL, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

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In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the ruling BJP incurred expenses totalling more than 250 crore on aircraft/ helicopters, as per the party's annual audited accounts submitted to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

On the other hand, the Congress party shelled out 126 crore in travelling during the same period. However, the party did not mention aircraft/helicopter expenses separately.

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Published: 14 Apr 2024, 01:34 PM IST
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