As of FY2004, the Government of India is paying AI
a fixed sum equivalent to the cost of leasing ~200 days worth of VIP charters aboard a 744. The aircraft provided is then theirs to do with as they please, whether they want to fly it or park it in Delaware. AI
has a surplus of 744s right now anyway (10 active, 7.5 aircraft rotation) so it works out fine.
Is it the same flight number from LHR-JFK and JFK-GVA?
Yes. Any AI
flight that carries the Head of State (President) or Head of Government (Prime Minister) is designated as AI
1 (they have a very elegant and fancy logo "Air India ONE" for all the related frills, etc...).
Why does the Indian PM need a Boeing 744?
Manmohan Singh actually asked about using a smaller aircraft for his trip to Bangkok earlier this year, but evidently it works out more efficient to use a single large 744 than multiple smaller planes to transport the ~200 strong press corps that accompanies him on these trips.
Just wondering why the flight number changes from AI 001 to the random numbers AI 345 and 346 respectively..
001 but AI
1. They are very fussy about that actually. And no idea why 345 and 346 were chosen, but they used them last year as well when Vajpayee had spent a week visiting the US and they parked in Dover.
I wonder what the parking fees are, JFK vs DOV?
Since Dover is an AFB, its possible the parking is gratis courtesy the USAF
. I know that IAF extends the same courtesy to visiting US dignitaries on the IAF ramp at Delhi when they are visiting India.
do other persons apart from the aforementioned have the right to travel AI 1, as the Home Minister, National Security Advisor etc.?? - Hopefully not
The flight is only designated as AI
1 when the PM
/President is aboard. On this trip he is being accompanied by both the Foreign Minister and the National Security Advisor - but if they were traveling without him they would only get a normal First Class seat or for shorter trips, one of the Indian Air Force VIP 737s.
Why does India not get a permanent VIP Long range Aircraft.
The idea was floated a couple years ago but they determined that the costs of setting up and training Air Force pilots for a 747 doesn't make sense, especially since most domestic airports can't even handle a 747 so its use would be very limited. Additionally, since they would only be acquiring one plane - a backup aircraft would have to be provided by Air India anyway to cater for any tech snags - which means AI
would still have the hassles of keeping a crew on ready reserve at all times during VIP trips. On the other hand, if they got a smaller long-range jet, then a seperate charter would become neccessary for the Press Corps that accompany the PM
Instead, it was decided that from FY2004 the Government would compensate AI
for a fixed number of days per year of VIP aircraft usage and AI
would factor that into the fleet planning accordingly. That is why you will almost always find a spare 744 in the schedule (outside of sked mx checks) when no VIP flights are planned.
how long will it be out of service, regarding change of configuration, security and pi pa po..?
-ESN has actually been out of service for most of September. She took President Kalam down to Dar-Es-Salaam, Durban, Jo'burg and Cape Town last week. Reconfig is usually a one-day job on each end - the interiors are all modular so no real hassles installing them.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada