NEW DELHI: The two brand new Boeing 777 will be sent to US-based Boeing Defence this June for retrofitting with the latest security and communication systems and be ready for VVIP use in 18 months. These two B-777 300 extended range (ER) planes will be ready as India's very own Air Force One by the end of next year and replace the over 25-year-old jumbo jets currently flown by president, VP and PM.

"These planes will remain with the government of India," said a highly placed source, when asked who will maintain and operate them after AI is sold off.

"We are working out those details. Whether we need to take some personnel from AI like experienced B-777 pilots from AI rolls to some other government unit, will be decided soon. All this will be spelt out in AI's request for proposal," the source said.

The two planes are currently being flown by AI on domestic routes like Delhi-Mumbai. Once retrofitted, they will be used only for VVIP flights.