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For sale: Government aircraft, high mileage, may not actually fly

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Beechcraft Super King Air 200

Beechcraft Super King Air 200

Beechcraft Super King Air 200

FOR sale -- one government plane, in storage for the past three years and not guaranteed to fly.

The Department of Defence is selling its 32-year old Beechcraft Super King Air 200, previously used to ferry government ministers across the country at a cost of more than €1,700 an hour.

A turbo-prop aircraft, it has been grounded for the past three years and the Air Corps cannot promise it will even fly.

The plane and spare parts will be sold "as seen", and "shall be taken with all faults and errors", tender documents published yesterday say.

The plane was manufactured in 1980 and was predominantly used as a VIP aircraft, kitted out with a galley and toilet.

Seating six passengers and two pilots, it was considered the workhorse of the Air Corps before being taken out of commission on age and safety grounds in 2009.

Websites advertise similar aircraft for as much as €1m, but the Beechcraft has more than 16,000 flying hours. A spokesman for Mach Aviation, the agency for Hawker Beechcraft in Ireland, said yesterday it was "amazing" it was kept in the air for so long.

"The Beechcraft isn't, in general, a workhorse but the fact they've kept it going for so long is an amazing feat," Joe McCarthy said.

"It's very hard to know (the value) without seeing the paperwork and seeing why it was grounded," he added.

There are no plans to replace the aircraft, given the appalling state of the country's finances. A similar model, purchased new, would cost about $5.8m (€4.4m).

Irish Independent