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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Demand for choppers surges as political parties intensify campaign, says report

The surge in demand for charter planes and helicopters for Lok Sabha elections has exceeded available supply in India, with the BJP reportedly booking 80 per cent of aircraft. This comes as political parties are trying to reach maximum constituencies in order to woo voters.

Edited By: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: April 23, 2024 16:38 IST
Helicopters for election campaign, Lok Sabha elections 2024
Image Source : FILE The BJP has reportedly booked at least 80 per cent of aircraft for the election campaign.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: With the first phase of Lok Sabha elections already completed, attention now shifts to the remaining six phases, covering approximately 80 per cent of the total 543 parliamentary seats. In the run-up to this, political parties are intensifying their efforts to connect with voters, using charter planes and helicopters as key tools. Due to this, demand for these aircraft has surged by 40-50 per cent, outpacing the available supply. 

Political demand surpasses aircraft availability

According to research by Amar Ujala, India boasts around 130 registered commercial aircraft and an equal number of helicopters, yet the demands have exceeded the current availability. Speaking to Amar Ujala on the condition of anonymity, a person disclosed that the majority of bookings for charter planes and helicopters were facilitated through discussions between political parties and individual leaders. Among the operators providing services for commercial aircraft and helicopter rentals are VSR Ventures, Air Charter Services, and Reliance Transport & Travels, he added. 

Foreign-registered aircraft not allowed for election campaigning

Notably, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has not yet granted permission for the use of foreign-registered aircraft for election campaigning. Consequently, there has been a notable surge in demand for commercial aircraft registered in India. This heightened demand has posed significant challenges for companies offering aircraft rentals, as they struggle to keep up. 

While companies and individuals can utilize foreign-registered aircraft for international travel, they encounter various restrictions, particularly when traversing military airspace. Securing special permission is necessary not only for the aircraft but also for the crew members. However, despite these efforts, companies and industry groups are finding it difficult to secure aircraft. As a result of the uncertain availability of aircraft, operators have ceased advance booking services, the report stated.

'BJP booked at least 80 per cent of aircraft' 

According to the report, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in the booking of charter planes and helicopters for election campaigns.  On the condition of anonymity, at least two persons told Amar Ujala that the BJP has booked 80 per cent of the available aircraft. The party was successful in hiring more planes because it has more number of senior leaders, they added.  

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