The first of the two dedicated VVIP aircraft which will only fly the President, Vice President, and Prime Minister of India on their foreign or domestic visits, arrived in New Delhi on Thursday.
The aircraft, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi from Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW) in Texas at 3.10 pm. after a 15-hour-long flight. The Boeing 777-300ER was originally scheduled to be delivered by aircraft manufacturer Boeing to Air India in August but the delivery was delayed due to technical reasons.
The Boeing 777-300ER, is the first of two being fitted out for the country. The second is due to arrive later this month. The aircraft registered VT-ALV, took off from Fort Worth at 1.34 p.m. (local time), and followed a route that crossed the Arctic Circle. This is the first time the aircraft has left the United States since it touched down in Chicago on June 1, 2018.
A report in The Print said the aircraft, is quipped with its own missile defence system, called the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) and Self-Protection Suites (SPS) besides state-of-the-art communication system and will be operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF), although Air India would receive it.
As and when the handover to the IAF is complete, the call sign is likely to change from Air India One to Air Force One, just like the one used by American Presidents.