Texas May Cut Back GA Fleet

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Everything might be bigger in Texas, but not everything’s better, especially when it comes to the cost of operating the state’s fleet of two Cessna piston singles, four Cessna Conquests and five Beech King Air B200s. The Texas state auditor said a recent review of flight services provided by the state Department of Transportation’s aviation division found that the flight department is not operating the aircraft fleet in a cost-effective manner.

When compared with current charter rates from the private sector, the auditor estimates the total loss incurred from providing state-operated flights for some 22 agencies in fiscal year 2006 was $972,441. The state DOT said it would soon conduct an independent review of the state flight department to achieve “break even cost of operations.” If it doesn’t, one of the auditor’s recommendations is eliminating the flight department in favor of using commercial airlines and private charter firms.