PM Imran's helicopter trips cost 'much more' than being claimed: report

Published: August 29, 2018
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PM Imran comes out of a helicopter with police officials in the foreground. PHOTO: TWITTER/ @FaiqaArshad11

PM Imran comes out of a helicopter with police officials in the foreground. PHOTO: TWITTER/ @FaiqaArshad11

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s helicopter trips to and from Bani Gala have sparked heavy criticism nationwide, with the actual cost being much more than what the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is claiming, according to BBC Urdu.

Social media has been weighing in on the government’s austerity measures as a few days back, PM Imran’s neighbours in Bani Gala posted a video of the helicopter being used by the former.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, while speaking to a local television channel, defended the PTI chief’s use of the helicopter by saying that “the average cost is about Rs50-55 per km”.

According to BBC Urdu, the cost of the trip is in stark contrast to Chaudhry’s claim.

The distance between the former cricketer’s residence in Bani Gala and the PM Secretariat is 15 kilometres. In aviation terms, this comes down to 8 nautical miles.

The government owns seven helicopters of the same kind, with two at the prime minister’s disposal. Rs16,000 is the amount spent on travelling one nautical mile.

Imran appears before NAB committee

If you multiply this by eight, it adds up to Rs128,000. Even if the cost of fuel and the country’s currency valuation is not taken into account from April, the cost is much higher than the amount stated by Chaudhry.

A senior police official, who is a privy to PM Imran’s security said that “security officials are stationed along the route from the secretariat to Bani Gala while security is also placed in the helicopter’s route”.

Hence, the cost is not even close to Rs55 as it has been claimed.

The helicopter sets off from the helipad located near the sports complex.

The helicopter then carries the passengers from Bani Gala to the PM secretariat which covers additional distance, and thus also adds to the expenses.

The expenses further include the staff expenses, use of the aerial boundaries and travelling.

If the same distance is covered through the ride sharing company Careem’s business car, it would cost Rs37-40 per kilometre.

This amount too can be saved considering the special route for the PM since there will be no additional delay due to traffic.

According to a retired army aviation officer, “a helicopter whether or not it is operated, costs thousands of rupees at start off, so it would be childish to say otherwise. Such a claim can only be made due to lack of knowledge.”

He quipped that jogging to the office would be the cheapest thing for PM Imran to do, like he does every morning. “That would keep him engaged in exercise and also save him time”. Islamabad police personnel and security staff are deputed on the routes of the PM for security.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Farooq Khan
    Aug 29, 2018 - 8:42AM

    It is a very considered decision by PM to use helicopter for a short trip to his private residence. It saves public from hassle and relieves security apparatus from big mobilisation. The machine used is already there for the purp, it only costs Government fuel, which is surprisingly insignificant. Even without use these machines have recurring costs.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ahmad
    Aug 29, 2018 - 10:19AM

    I am wondering why social media, print and electronic media chaosing over use of the helicopter and started calculation of usage of fuel etc.
    There will more to discuss rather to bashing the government on less interested issues. Be constructive rather levelling illogical statements. Come forward for the betterment of Pakistan and let the New government implement the things it is claiming.Recommend

  • abcd
    Aug 29, 2018 - 11:33AM

    Going purely by the data presented in this article…..

    Careem executive vehicle is overpriced at Rs.37-45/km if the PM can travel at Rs.50-55/km in a helicopter.

    I want Careem to either reduce its Executive car rates to Rs.5/km or it should start a helicopter service at Rs.55/km :)Recommend

  • Fahad
    Aug 29, 2018 - 11:34AM

    I calculated my self the direct distance between PM office and IK residence. It comes to 7.2 KM.Recommend

  • Mukhtar
    Aug 29, 2018 - 11:40AM

    The helicopter should not be compared to a Careem app. It should be compared to 7 Mercedes S500 with 4.7cc engine, the maintenance required of the 7 cars and the salaries of the 7 drivers.Recommend

  • Muneer
    Aug 29, 2018 - 11:43AM

    The breakdown of Rs.16,000 /- has not been mentioned so one cannot comment on that. As for one trip of the use by Imran Khan of the helicopter for Banigala the cost would be the fuel charges only vs the fuel charges of 7 cars. Since it is a government owned helicopter and cars other charges such as cost of persons salary,food, insurance,parking fee,maintenance cost etc would still have to be incurred if heli / cars are not used. Only the fuel charges would indicate which is cheaper. The contention of Information Minister seems to be correct.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Khan
    Aug 29, 2018 - 12:38PM

    Please stop this nonsense propaganda…do some constructive journalism, if you knowRecommend

  • Saleem
    Aug 29, 2018 - 1:09PM

    It is ridiculous that how media frenzy would turn the attention to non-issues. Are you really serious or even remotely sane to make comparison with Careen for travel ? Are you expecting that a hired car should be use for ferrying prime minister ? I, for one am relieved if it reduces the traffic jams and traffic snarls lasting for hours due to ‘route’ that had become a way of life for commuters. If you really want the comparison then it should include the national productive hours lost due to security route + fuel lost by the cars stuck on route + fuel burnt by the motorcade + maintenance of cars and wear / tear on those cars. The most important point being the relief to common commuters due to reduction in security routes.Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Aug 29, 2018 - 1:46PM

    Why take careem when choppers are cheaper.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Aug 29, 2018 - 1:56PM

    Daily tribune, your article increased one zero in the real figure given by BBC.
    Figure given by BBC is one nautical mile expense is 1600. And total 8 nautical mile expense is 12800…not 128000 as you mentioned. Check BBC article again. Recommend

  • jun
    Aug 29, 2018 - 2:35PM

    ghandiji used to travel third class,but whole train chartered.”expensive unaffordable poverty”.Recommend

  • Warda
    Aug 30, 2018 - 11:03AM

    But d bbc article says rs12800 not rs128000Recommend

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