New Delhi, October 2: In a major development, the custom-made first specially modified Boeing 777 aircraft which will be used to fly the President, Vice-President, and the Prime Minister. arrived from the US in India. 'Air India One' arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi after a 15-hour flight from Worth Airport in Texas.
The government has planned to procure two such specially modified Boeing-777 aircraft and another custom-made B777 plane for the travel of VVIPs is likely to be received from Boeing during a later date. These were earlier to be delivered aircraft in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, later it is delayed again then in August for a few weeks due to technical reasons.
These two new aircraft will be used to fly the Prime Minister, President, and Vice President, which will be flown by Air Force pilots. The new planes will be used for the travel of the dignitaries only.
The aircraft is equipped with an advanced communication system that allows availing audio and video communication function mid-air without being hacked. Moreover, it is also capable of countering missile threats with its missile defense system, called the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS), which the US agreed to sell at a cost of USD 190 million.
Moreover, the aircraft has a big suit/cabin for the VVIP, a mini medical center has also been set up in the aircraft. It also has a standard space for the press. The rear seats are of the Economy class category while the rest of the seats are Business class. B777 aircraft can fly over 17 hours continuously. The new Boeing 777 aircraft for VVIPs guest is also equipped with advanced defense systems and will be operated fully by IAF pilots in due course of time.
Both these aircraft will be operated by Indian Air Force pilots. However, the maintenance of both these new aircraft will be done by Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL). These modified aircraft are set to match the US President’s Air Force One in terms of security measures.
Moreover, these two aircraft were part of Air India's commercial fleet for a few months in 2018 before they were sent back to Boeing for retrofitting them for VVIP travel. These two aircraft were part of Air India’s commercial fleet for a few months in 2018 before they were sent back to Boeing for retrofitting them for VVIP travel.