Air India has so far billed Rs 443.4 crore for Prime Minister Narendra Modis official foreign visits, the frequency of which are seen as a reflection of Indias growing engagement with the rest of the world. The airline is yet to charge for the expenses incurred on five more overseas trips made by the PM.
Air India, the official airline for the Prime Ministers overseas visits, has flown Modi on 44 international trips since he became PM in May 2014, more than any of his predecessors, according to data from the Prime Ministers Office. The airline sends the bills to the PMO; the money is then transferred to Air India by the government.
Although he has travelled to more countries, the expenses incurred on Modis foreign visits are almost Rs 50 crore less than what was spent by his immediate predecessor Manmohan Singh, during his second term (2009-2014). As PM, Singh undertook 38 trips abroad in those five years, and incurred an expenditure of Rs 493.22 crore.
One reason for the lower travel cost (overall, and on average) of Modis foreign trips is because he often targets multiple destinations on the same trip.
Another reason why PM Modis foreign tours seem to have cost less to the exchequer is that for six other international visits, he used the business jet of the Indian Air Force, incurring no additional expense. Modi went to Nepal, Bangladesh, Iran and Singapore in the IAFs Boeing 737 business jet that is used round the year exclusively for VVIP travel. During Singhs tenure, Ai India One was used even on short-haul tours such as Bangladesh and Singapore, too, had been taken into account.
These travel costs include fuel, cost of hiring the entire aircraft and cost related to crew. Other costs that may be incurred on foreign travel, such as expenses in the destination, are not included in these.