Contract Awarded To Sell New Mexico Jet

New Mexico – New Mexico has awarded a contract to a Colorado-based aviation broker to sell the state's executive jet plane.

A source close to the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press that the state General Services Department has hired Wetzel Aviation Inc. to sell the Cessna Citation Bravo. The source spoke on condition of anonymity early Tuesday to avoid upstaging the department's formal announcement.

Selling the seven-seat plane has been a priority of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez since taking office in January. She has described the aircraft as the "ultimate symbol of waste and excess."

State officials have said selling the plane would save New Mexico about $400,000 a year in maintenance and other costs.

The plane was purchased new in 2005 by former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson's administration for $5.5 million.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.