Orlando Dispatch

Orlando News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally gets an airplane

Florida officials could soon finalize a deal to buy a business jet to fly Gov. Ron DeSantis, more than six months after he was a passenger in a state-operated aircraft that experienced a mechanical malfunction.

A negotiation team with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday recommended the state acquire a nine-passenger jet from Textron Aviation Inc. But the price tag on that plane was not immediately made public.

Members of the negotiating team did not discuss the plane’s cost during a public meeting at the state agency’s headquarters in Tallahassee. Agency spokeswoman Jessica Cary said she did not have a dollar amount when asked repeatedly after the meeting.

The airplane model state officials intend to buy is the Cessna Citation Latitude, which the company advertises on its website as having an “elegant and lean design” with an electronic door, touch-screen avionics, a large lavatory and a spacious cabin.

In a notice posted after the recommendation was made, the law-enforcement agency said it picked the Textron jet after determining it would provide “the best value to the state.” Lawmakers during this spring’s legislative session provided $3.8 million to the agency for a new aircraft, pilots and maintenance staff.

“The department reserves the right to hold additional negotiations with Textron Aviation Inc. in order to establish final contract terms and conditions,” the notice added.

When the state advertised to solicit proposals for the plane, it said vendors would need to provide the total bid price, which would include the cost to the state related to the “purchase and delivery of the aircraft, including but not limited to initial deposit, production, inspection(s), delivery costs, pilot training, broker fees and vendor legal fees.”

During the bidding process, an option to finance the plane was removed, Cary said.…

Read more at Orlando Weekly

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