This is how VVIP 'Air India 1' jet for Modi, Kovind looks like

The two VVIP Boeing-777 jets are likely to be delivered to Air India by September

vvip boeing 777 flickr andy egloff The VVIP Boeing-777 for India | Flickr account of Andy Egloff

A US-based aviation photographer has clicked what appears to be the first image of the VVIP Boeing-777 jet that India is buying for the use of the prime minister, president and vice president.

Later this year, India will receive two Boeing-777 jets in a VVIP configuration for the long-distance travels of the three senior government officials. The aircraft, popularly referred to as 'Air India One', will replace the ageing Boeing-747 jets of Air India's passenger fleet that are commandeered for the use of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu.

The photograph of the VVIP Boeing-777 for India was taken by Andy Egloff, a flight dispatcher with American Airlines in Grapevine, Texas. In the description of the photograph on the aircraft photography site Jet Photos, Egloff said the aircraft was photographed on final approach to the runway of Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas, after a flight from "SBD", an apparent reference to the San Bernardino International Airport in California.

The VVIP Boeing-777 photographed by Egloff had a predominantly white livery, with the words India and Bharat (in Hindi) written on the fuselage. The aircraft also has an impression of the national flag painted across the lower fuselage.

The two VVIP Boeing-777 jets were taken from Air India's fleet in 2018 and sent to the US for modifications, including installation of missile defence systems and advanced communications gear. The Boeing-777 jet photographed by Egloff had a distinctive bulbous 'hump' atop the forward fuselage, which may be intended to house satellite communication gear. The well-known 'Air Force One' Boeing-747 used by the US president has multiple such installations to ensure secure communications.

The Indian Air Force's current fleet of Embraer VVIP jets, used for short-haul flights, also have a predominantly white livery. However, the livery for the Boeing-777 caused disappointment for some on Twitter. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah was among them. Commenting on an image of the VVIP Boeing-777 last week, Abdullah tweeted "Pity about the livery though".

Meanwhile, officials on Monday said the two VVIP Boeing-777 jets are likely to be delivered to Air India by September. The two Boeing-777 aircraft will be operated by pilots of the Indian Air Force and not of Air India.

However, the new wide-body planes will be maintained by Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), which is a subsidiary of the Indian national carrier, the officials said.

In addition to its highly improved self-defence equipment, the VVIP Boeing-777 would be able to fly long-distance routes, such as from India to the US, without a refuelling stop. The current Boeing-747 fleet is incapable of doing so.