Ohio pays $9.6M for 2 new aircraft for state leaders' travel; trade-in of old planes cut costs

Associated Press

Ohio officials purchased two new planes for the governor and other state leaders to travel on official business.

The state spent $9.6 million and traded in two used planes to get the new aircraft this month, The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1DEl9Qe ) reported. It bought a new, nine-passenger Beechcraft King Air 350i for $5.4 million, and a six-passenger King Air 250 for $4.2 million.

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That combined cost was less than the actual price for the aircraft because the state saved $1.3 million by trading in two planes that are decades old.

The purchase and trade-in arrangements were made with Kansas-based Beechcraft Corporation, which plans to refurbish one of the planes.

"The existing planes were old and starting to cost the state millions to maintain," said Matt Bruning, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation, which manages the state air fleet. "It was determined that due to rising maintenance costs and decreasing reliability the aircraft needed to be replaced."

According to bid documents, the larger plane has standard features such as a media center, memory foam cushions and chilled wine bottle storage, the newspaper reported.

Despite state officials agreeing with a 2012 audit that recommended leasing as a more cost-effective option, Bruning said ownership provides a flexibility that's often required of state agencies in emergency situations.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com