- Associated Press - Monday, January 22, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A group of faculty, staff and students at the University of Kansas is urging the school’s administration to sell its jet to save money.

The recommendation came in a report by the University Senate’s Planning and Resources Committee that was released last spring, the Lawrence Journal-World reported . Selling the Cessna CJ4 jet could generate about $6.6 million and save the university more than $1 million a year in operating costs, according to the committee.

Administration officials responded last month, calling the plane an important business tool used for donor relations, athletics recruitment and outreach efforts by the KU Medical Center. The twin-turbine jet seats up to 10 passengers and can fly with a range of just over 2,000 miles (3,218 kilometers).

But most of the plane’s flights between January 2015 and February 2017 had distances of less than 300 miles (483 kilometers) with few passengers on board, according to the report. The committee suggested the university would be fine using smaller, propeller-driven planes.

“It’s akin to owning a Lamborghini and using it to haul hay half a block to feed your horses. It’s that wasteful,” said Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, an aerospace engineering professor at the university and a member of the committee. “We’ve got the wrong aircraft, we’re utilizing it the wrong way and it’s wasteful.”

The issue may come up at the Kansas Legislature, where Republican Rep. Troy Waymaster of Bunker Hill said he began reviewing the state’s aircraft fleet and is considering possible liquidation.

“There were some interesting things that popped up when we started looking into that,” he said. “Why some departments have an aircraft. And basically it’s owned by the state of Kansas and they have to get permission to use the aircraft, but still, they’re the frequent user of it.”

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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