"There doesn't appear to be a particular reason for the decline in usage of state aircraft," Taylor said.
Aviation division operational costs have dropped by $21,000 per year over the last four years. The state also has saved about $34,200 a year in fuel costs because of the drop in flights. The decline has led to a total savings of about $221,000.
During the past five years, two pilots have left the state aviation office, and they haven't been replaced.
"These positions were not filled as it was determined the remaining staff was sufficient to meet the needs of the agency," Taylor said.
In 2009, the state traded in a 2005 model Cessna Grand Caravan for a new model. The 2009 Cessna had a $2.1 million purchase price, but the state paid $287,000 for the new aircraft because the seller agreed to credit $1.7 million of that cost as a trade-in for the 2005 plane.
The aviation office charges state agencies $700 an hour for flights on Cessna, half the hourly rate for King Air flights.
The state Aviation Division also has three helicopters.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.