A twin turboprop aircraft used for years by Kansas University Medical Center has been sold, and KU has replaced it with a half ownership of a newer plane.
Todd Cohen, a spokesman for KU, says the fractional ownership in the 1999 King Air C-90B is more cost-efficient than buying another plane outright.
"It's just a much more economical option," he said.
KU recently bought the fractional ownership for $999,000 from Executive Air Shares, which is headed by Bob Taylor, a member of the KU Endowment Board, which purchased the fractional ownership on behalf of KU.
An executive committee of the board, which did not include Taylor, heard from three or four vendors before deciding to go with Executive Air Shares, Cohen said.
KU also entered into a $1.8 million, five-year maintenance deal with Executive Air Shares through a no-bid contract.
KU sought the no-bid contract because it said Executive Air Shares has a fleet of aircraft "that are best suited to the type of flying we do in the state for KUMC outreach." Those flights are primarily to other Kansas destinations, including a number of smaller airports that can't accommodate larger planes, KU said. Flights for the Wichita School of Medicine also will utilize Executive Air Shares.
Cohen said replacing the old plane would have cost $3 million. Executive Air Shares is available in both Kansas City and Wichita. "It gives us more flexibility," he said.
KU ended up selling its old plane. There were nine bids, and the winner was a group that included Lawrence developer and landowner Doug Compton, who is part-owner of the site where a new Wal-Mart is planned at Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.
Compton's group paid $502,555 for the plane, which KU had bought for $735,000 in 1995.