- Embraer VT CKP aircraft doesn't have license for commercial operations
- Aircraft owned by private firm which runs the Krishnapatnam power plant
- Mr Naidu has used the aircraft around 200 times in the last three years
When Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was returning from Mumbai to Vijaywada on Monday, he got on a plane very familiar to him. The Embraer VT CKP aircraft has regularly carried the chief minister and his entourage, because it is virtually a free ride, but one that is potentially dangerous and against the rules.
The aircraft is private and does not have a Non-Scheduled Operator Permit, or a license for commercial operations -- which means it does not stick to the safety regulations necessary for a VIP flight. Owned by the Navyuga company, which runs the Krishnapatnam power plant, the aircraft is only for the use of the owners and their guests.
The safety concerns become even more pertinent in view of the air crash that killed a former chief minister of the state, YSR Reddy, in September 2009.
NDTV has learnt that over the last three years, Mr Naidu has used the aircraft around 200 times. His office said it was used 50 times.
The big draw of the plane is that it comes virtually free, sources said. "We do pay for the fuel charges and airport fee," read the response from the Chief Minister's Office. The figure, however, is a fraction of the cost of a commercial flight. The flight today would have cost Rs 20 lakh.
"We have not been using this aircraft for a year, but there are not many aircraft in this region so we have to opt for it in emergencies," the official response also said.
The Chief Minister's Office said they stopped using the plane for the last year. NDTV has learnt the aircraft was under repair at the time.
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