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Lok Sabha elections 2024: How political parties lavish airborne campaigns through copters, planes

Political parties gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections in South India are driving a surge in demand for private aviation services, particularly helicopters and jets. Bookings are soaring, with the BJP reserving over a hundred aircraft for campaign purposes. This surge in demand raises concerns about the availability and cost of non-political VVIPs. 

Lok Sabha elections 2024: How political parties lavish airborne campaigns through copters, planes vkp
First Published Apr 2, 2024, 8:40 AM IST

Political parties gear up for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, splurging on helicopters for their campaign trail across South India. With bookings soaring, private aviation companies witness a surge in demand, leaving a dearth of helicopters and jets for other VVIPs.

The demand for private aviation services has skyrocketed, with helicopters and jets being snapped up for various campaign purposes. Helicopters are set to be stationed at strategic locations such as Jakkuru Airdrome, HAL, and Whitefield in Bengaluru, catering to the extensive campaign routes planned by parties.

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Reports suggest that the BJP has initiated extensive bookings with private airlines, reserving helicopters for central and star campaigners. More than a hundred helicopters and small planes are already booked, with additional resources on standby from other states to meet any unforeseen demands.

A private aviation firm assures the deployment of well-maintained double-engine copters and experienced VIP pilots for the safety of dignitaries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge, and other central ministers have meticulously charted out their campaign route maps, ensuring efficient travel arrangements.

However, amidst this fervent demand from political parties, concerns arise regarding the availability of helicopters and jets for VVIPs from other sectors. The surge in bookings could potentially lead to delays or higher rental costs for non-political clients.

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Shobe T Paul, CEO of Halo Jet, sheds light on the escalating rental costs in the aviation sector, attributing it to the increased demand during the election season. With rates soaring by approximately 20% compared to the previous Lok Sabha elections, the cost of hiring double-engine copters and aeroplanes sees a significant surge.

The rental prices vary depending on the type of aircraft, ranging from ₹2.10 lakh per hour for a 2-seater helicopter to ₹4 lakhs per hour for a 13-seater mini plane. South Indian helicopter companies witness a surge in bookings, leaving limited options for VVIPs seeking aviation services.

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