New Guv Says She Won't Step Foot In It
A Westwind II business jet purchased last year by outgoing
governor Frank H. Murkowski will probably be put up for sale, as
the incoming governor has promised she won't step foot on the
As Aero-News reported in January
2005, then-Governor Murkowski expressed interest in
purchasing a jet days after New Mexico governor Bill Richardson
ordered his own Cessna Citation Bravo. The Murkowski administration
purchased the Westwind (file photo of type, above) from a Las Vegas
aircraft broker in November 2005 for $2.692 million... using funds
from a special account after state and federal lawmakers denied
money for the purchase.
The New York Times reports the jet was immediately unpopular
with Alaska voters, who equated the jet with frivilous government
spending. They noted the Westwind could not utilize many rural
runways throughout the state, unlike the state's fleet of King Air
Republican Palin promised voters during her primary run against
Murkowski that if she became governor, she would get rid of the
jet. Palin trounced Murkowski in the primary, and went on to win
the general election.
Palin says she'll keep her word to dump the jet. When she needs
to fly, she'll either use the state's King Airs, or go
"The purchase of the jet was impractical and unwise, and it's
time to get rid of it," the governor said in a prepared statement.
"In the meantime, I'm keeping my promise not to set foot on the
The Westwind will probably be offered for sale on eBay, Palin's
office said. The state has previously sold ferries and patrol boats
on the auction site, under the seller name
In addition to shuttling Murkowski between Juneau, Alaska's
remote capital city, and Anchorage, the nine-seat Westwind was
often used to transport inmates to facilities in Arizona.
Meghan Stapleton, Palin's spokeswoman, told the Anchorage Daily
News the state has only paid off about $78,500 on the jet, leaving
roughly $2.5 million still owed. That price includes about $100,000
in pilot training costs, she added.