New Delhi, October 10: Pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will fly two custom-made Boeing 777 planes, which will be used to fly Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top Indian dignitaries from July 2020. Currently, PM Narendra Modi's official aircraft 'Air India One' is operated by pilots of Air India. This will be the first time that IAF pilots will fly the Prime Minister's plane. Ten pilots of the IAF are being trained for the purpose. PM Narendra Modi's Foreign Trips: Rs 355 Crore Spent on 41 Visits.
"The two new B777 planes will come to India from US facility of Boeing by July next year. They will have the call sign ‘Air India One’. Only IAF pilots will be flying the two new aircraft for PM, president and vice president," an Air India official told news agency PTI. Currently, PM Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu fly on Air India's B747 planes, which have the call sign "Air India One". NCP MP Vandana Chavan Complains of Poor Quality Food on Air India Flight.
While the IAF pilot will fly the special B777 planes, Air India's subsidiary body Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) will be responsible for aircraft's maintenance. Once the new wide-body planes will be inducted, the out of commission B747 aircraft will be used by the Indian national carrier for commercial operations. According to reports, four-six IAF pilots have completed their training and others are being trained too.
The B777 planes will have state-of-the-art missile defence systems called Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS). In February, the US agreed to sell the two defence systems to India at a cost of total USD 190 million. The Centre is planning to initiate the process of divestment of its stake in Air India, which has a debt of over Rs 60,000 crore, from November this year. (With PTI inputs)