State Aircraft Fleet Axed by New Florida Governor

AINalerts » January 6, 2011
January 6, 2011, 11:20 AM

Fulfilling a campaign promise, newly installed Florida governor Rick Scott directed the Florida Department of Management Services yesterday to sell the state’s two business airplanes–a 2000 Beechcraft King Air 350 and a 2003 Cessna Citation Bravo. His predecessor, Charlie Crist, made frequent use of these aircraft, as the airlines offer few intrastate nonstop flights and Florida’s geographical shape can make for lengthy drives. “The privilege of using a state-owned aircraft is an unnecessary burden to taxpayers, especially when lower-cost travel options exist,” said Scott. At press time, Scott’s office had not responded to AIN’s queries seeking more details. While disappointed by the announcement, Florida Aviation Trade Association executive director Paula Raeburn told AIN, “Scott used his own corporate aircraft extensively during his campaign, so he knows what a resource and business tool an aircraft is.” While NBAA said it didn’t know the specifics behind the governor’s move, “We do know that, like companies, states across the U.S. are using business airplanes to be more efficient, productive and competitive.” According to business aviation information provider JetNet, average asking prices for the King Air and Bravo are both about $2.75 million. But because of the depressed pre-owned market, aviation research and consulting firm Conklin & de Decker vice president David Wyndham told AIN that he believes the aircraft, which will be sold February 9 to the highest bidders, will fetch bids “in the low $2 million range at best.”

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