Prime Minister David Cameron and senior ministers are to get their own aircraft for official trips.

An RAF Voyager aircraft will be refitted at a cost of about £10m, the move is expected to save about £775,000 per year as the plane will be cheaper than chartering flights, delivering significant savings for the government.

The Airbus A330 Voyager is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft with transport capabilities and is based on the civilian Airbus A330. The multi-role A330 tanker/transport has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force and Republic of Singapore Air Force.

Official flights using either Royal Squadron planes or long haul charter, cost on average £6,700 per flying hour while using a Voyager aircraft would cost £2,000. It would be available for refuelling when it wasn’t in use.

A government spokesperson said:

“As part of the government’s defence review, we have been looking at ways to make better use of the RAF fleet to transport senior ministers and consequently deliver savings for taxpayers.

We have decided to adapt one of our existing Voyager aircraft so that, in addition to its primary air tanking role, it can transport Ministers and it will also be available for the Royal family to use.”

The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. The A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force and Republic of Singapore Air Force.

26 COMMENTS

  1. About damn time.

    Bloody embarrassing see our PM turn up at official visits in a BA charter flight.

    Of course all the class warfare plebs will object but they’re a waste of space anyway.

  2. Why don’t they just customise it like Airforce One? The way things are going these days, London will be getting attacked weekly and we need a back up command centre just like the USA.

  3. At £10 million cost don’t know why they don’t convert 2 of them so that there is a backup. Seriously in the defence environment £20 million is a drop in the ocean

  4. it,s not really to save money,it is more than likely to make sure no one sneaks a bomb on board as the plane is military so any tom dick or harry can,t go on or get near it…

  5. I do wish report were factual. The Airbus MRTT offering from the A300, A310 Variants and now the A330 have not, repeat not, been bought by the RAF. The RAF version is a standard A330 adapted for Air to Air refuelling from it’s existing standard tanks. It does not have the large freight door cut into the upper fuselage and is therefore not able to be configured for large 108 x 88 inch cargo pallets upstairs. It is definitely not the MRTT commentators are reporting.

  6. Further, whilst the VC10 was in service, and because of the adaptable cargo main deck floor and large freight door that allowed fast role changes into or out of VIP fit, an aircraft out of the 13 in 10 Sqn Service was always available for Royal or Government Ministerial use, in addition to 32 The Royal Sqn’s 6 HS 125s and 2 BAe 146-100s. Seems cheap to me to have retired the expensive and out of date VC10 fleet, whilst configuring a single relatively modern wide-bodied jet from the new fleet of quieter more efficient and longer range aircraft for a triple-role, now to include VIP duties.

  7. As for the Queen and the Royals having their own “Queens Flight”, not strictly true. The Prime role for No 32 Sqn is as a communications fleet, meaning the ferrying of Service personnel as part of their Operational duties, ie, moving slip crews and replacement pilots around, as well as allowing senior commanders of all 3 Services to conduct their Military Business without carrying State Military Secrets through international airports or indeed on Ryanair!!! That said, you have to be really senior to get close to using one of these assets as they are very tightly controlled.

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