HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

No landing date set for Gov. Ron DeSantis' state-issued jet

Posted By and on Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 11:21 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO OF CESSNA CITATION LATITUDE VIA CESSNA
  • Photo of Cessna Citation Latitude via Cessna
Upon taking office, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ made his first trip out of Tallahassee aboard an upgraded King Air aircraft that law-enforcement officials had seized in a drug bust.

That's because his predecessor, Rick Scott, was the wealthiest governor in state history and got rid of state planes, opting to use his own private plane for state travel. When the drug-bust plane had to make an emergency landing earlier this year with the governor aboard, Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva voiced support for purchasing a state-issued plane.



Since then, the governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis, who doubles as one of his top political advisers, have sometimes drawn headlines for flying on private jets owned by donors. Most recently, Politico Florida reported that Casey DeSantis hitched a ride on Republican donor Mori Hosseini’s plane to attend an event to announce funding for one of her mental-health initiatives.

The $15.5 million business jet still doesn’t have an estimated arrival time at Tallahassee International Airport. But the plane is being built as attorneys hammer out final key details.

“The contract is not holding up the process of the production of the plane,” Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said in a statement, adding a “contract for the purchase of a commodity of this size” takes time to finalize.

Attorneys with the state agency have been negotiating details of the contract and financing for the nine-passenger plane for more than 70 days. The delivery of the plane and pilot-training requirements are among the details that will be included in the contract.
click to enlarge PHOTO OF CESSNA CITATION LATITUDE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo of Cessna Citation Latitude via Wikimedia Commons
Until the specifics are hashed out, it remains unclear when the plane will be available to the governor, who regularly travels across the state.

The planned airplane model is a Cessna Citation Latitude from Textron Aviation Inc. The company advertises it as a jet with “elegant and lean design," an electronic door, touch-screen avionics and a spacious 6-foot standing cabin.

A state negotiation team recommended acquiring the jet in late July. It will be purchased, rather than leased, and will be financed. Jessica Cary, an FDLE spokeswoman, pointed to $1.2 million in recurring state funds as how the state agency will “make payments toward the financed purchase."

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation