The future of 32 (The Royal) Squadron was recently left in doubt when it was revealed that the RAF was looking to sell off its BAE 146 transport fleet, aircraft primarily used to transport the Royal Family and other VIPs.
It is now rumoured that the BAE 146 transport fleet will be replaced with “Global 5000 series aircraft or similar”.
The Global 5000 was launched in February 2002. It can carry between 8 and 19 passengers. The firm say there is an optional private room aft and the galley has room to prepare 16 five-course meals.
The jet was priced at $40 million in 2008, it has forward and aft lavatories. I’ll save you more specs, it’s a private jet, you get the idea.
In 2017, Ministers were ‘urged to show solidarity‘ with workers at the Bombardier aerospace factory in Northern Ireland and select the C-Series aircraft, part-built in Belfast, as the new jet for the Queen’s Flight. That aircraft type is now now marketed by Airbus and built by Airbus Canada, a joint venture with the original manufacturer Bombardier.
More recently however, the Global 5000 series has been touted as the favourite choice.
A source in the Royal Air Force told me on condition of anonymity:
“The plan is to replace them with an unknown (small) number of Global 5000s or similar.
The objective is to purchase/lease similar biz jets as the Royals keep chartering, to encourage the Royals to actually use 32 (The Royal) Sqn. They specifically dislike the 146s & the Queen has issued specific instruction that if she dies overseas she is not to be flown back in a 146.”
The source added:
“The plan was for the replacement to enter service in 2023, although it’s currently unfunded. So I’d say it’s tentative at best.”
Whatever the aircraft chosen, don’t expect anything official on this for some time.