Gujarat assembly polls 2022: Election campaigns make demand for charters soar
Estimates from industry players show that at least 50% of the demand for charters is driven by political entities
With Gujarat set to vote on December 1 and 5, campaigning is on and in full swing and to water-tight schedules, pushing up demand for charter aircraft and helicopters.
Estimates from industry players show that at least 50% of the demand for charters is driven by political entities.
Instead of flying scheduled flights like in the years past, most politicians now arrive by charter jets and use helicopters to fly within the state.
A string of political heavyweights including PM Narendra Modi, Delhi CM and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi have arrived in Gujarat.
Accordingly, the number of charter flights is expected to increase significantly.
Sources said at least 400 chartered aircraft and helicopters flew as non-scheduled commercial flights from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad in the first fortnight of November.
This figure has risen by a third, from 600-odd in all of October.
Last month, the Defence Expo coupled with corporate events drove chartered flight movements. This month, the majority of charters are for political leaders.
A chartered aircraft is hired for at least five days a week by leaders for a minimum of fourhours, said a senior official of an aviation firm based in Ahmedabad.
This means if a party holds a charter aircraft even for a day, the costs incurred range from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. Interestingly, the sudden spurt in demand for chartered jets and helicopters in the past two years has led aviation leasing companies to look for new aircraft, as their inventory gets fully booked.