In what some might consider a paradox of modern politics on the use of private aviation, the new governor of Florida will donate the use of his own aircraft for his own travels around the 26th largest state while selling off the state's own airplanes. He says anyone else in the government who needs to get from Tallahassee to anywhere else in a hurry can book on the airlines or drive their own car. In fact, Rick Scott, a wealthy Naples businessman, campaigned on what he termed the waste of operating the 2003 Citation Bravo and a 2000 King Air 350 at a cost of $2.4 million a year. It wasn't immediately clear what type of aircraft Scott owns. It's also been noted by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that this isn't exactly the best time to be selling off used aircraft, especially since the Citation is leased. In case anyone is interested, the plane is already listed for sale on Aircraft Shopper Online, even though the state's legislature hasn't yet formally signed off on the sale.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush cut the deal for the Bravo and instead of buying it outright, the state leased it from Cessna. Full cost of the lease was a hair under $8 million and the state still owes $3.4 million to buy out the lease. Just how long the state can operate without its own aircraft is being pondered by unnamed sources in several media outlets and geography plays an important part. The seat of government is more than 450 miles from the main population centers of Miami and Fort Lauderdale (Scott's hometown of Naples is about the same distance) and other major centers like Tampa and Orlando are a hike as well. The sources say it's just not practical for the government to rely on airlines or charters if something in a far-flung region needs immediate attention from people headquartered in the northwestern part of the state.