State secures new plane, reverts savings to General Fund

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – On Monday, Governor Kristi Noem announced that the state has taken possession of a 2015 King Air 350 after an extensive, nationwide search. Combined with the sale of two state-owned planes in 2021, the deal saved the State of South Dakota $3.31 million compared to what had been budgeted. The savings will be reverted to the State General Fund.

“It’s our duty to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, so my goal from the beginning was to purchase the best plane for the state’s needs at the most affordable cost. We achieved that,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “This plane is newer, safer, and will save the taxpayers money in the long run in maintenance costs.”

In 2021, the legislature appropriated $5 million, plus the proceeds from the sales of the King Air 200 and one King Air 90, for the purchase of a new plane. The State retained the services of aircraft broker Verity Jet for $195,000. The net proceeds from the two planes were as follows:

  • King Air 200: $1.81 million (appraised for $1.73 million)
  • King Air 90: $1.24 million (appraised for $1.12 million)

Despite having nearly $8 million available for the purchase of a new plane, the Department of Transportation secured a much newer King Air 350, including all upgrades for just $4.7 million, and the state took possession of that plane last week.

Additionally, purchasing a newer plane saved the state at least $1.5 million in pending maintenance costs on the two planes that have been sold.