As we all know, back in June 2020, it was announced the the Prime Minister’s sort-of-private transport was to be repainted in a Union Flag colour scheme, at the cost of £900,000. Yes, arch-clown Alexander Boris dePeffel Johnson, not content with his bus based shennanigans, decided to go for the all important aviation derision too.
Taking a serving Royal Air Force Airbus KC2 Voyager (A330-243MRTT) (tail number ZZ336) and painting it up like a flying flag drew criticism from a lot of people. Some over the cost, some of the misguided idea that the flag was painted upside-down (it wasn’t), and some because, well, who really need air travel in the midst of a global pandemic? Anyway, we shall dub this bird Air Farce One.
Fast forward to June 9th, 2021, and Boris lands in Cornwall, after flying in from Stansted.
Clearly, he used Air Force One, didn’t he? Well, no as the article above says he “chartered a ‘plane”. So what did he charter? Well, after going though the flight records for Newquay Airport, it looks like it was G-XATW, an Airbus A321-253NX, operated by Titan Airways. But there isn’t a a problem with the leader of a G7 nation chartering a ‘plane to travel for 49 minutes within his own country, is there? Well not apart from the Carbon footprint, but that is for others to argue about.
But, in a news story that some how got buried back in March 2021, the deshevelled bumcrack of a scarecrow had ANOTHER jet painted up in the same livery as Air Farce One, and this was indeed G-XATW, which we shall now refer to as Air Farce Two.
Forget Two Jags Prescott, this is Two Jets Johnson!
The fact that it “had to be chartered”, and the lack of clarity over who paid for the paint job and how much it cost leads me to think that Titan did it at no cost to the UK tax payer, as a way of getting in on the contract. Maybe, maybe not, time will tell. But it should be noted that elsewhere it is described as being on a lease, and that means it should not be used for non-government business.
The movements of Air Farce Two
I can only track movements back to March 16th 2020, due to only have a Flightradar24 trial subscription, but as it was announced on March 22nd, we will go from there.
April 1st, 2021
Flight from Stansted to Darlington and back, 4H07M layover.
April 5th-9th 2021
Stansted to Dubai to Jakarta to Brunei to Dubai to Stansted.
May 13th 2021
Flight from Stansted to Darlington and back, 3H46M layover,.
May 25th-26th 2021
Moved fro Stansted to Heathrow, then out to Tel-Aviv, with the movements reversed the next day.
June 6th-7th 2021
Stansted to Neom (Saudi Arabia) and back the next day)
June 9th-13th 2021
Stansted to Newquay and back
This we know was the G7 Summit.
June 14th 2021
Stansted to Brussels and back, 4H35M layover.
This must have been the NATO Conference.
June 20th 2021
Stansted to Dubai.
June 21st 2021
Dubai to Hanoi
June 22nd 2021
Hanoi to Phnom Penh
June 23rd 2021
Phnom Penh to Singapore
The movements of Air Farce One
Since March 22nd, ZZ336 hasn’t actually done any Government work, instead it has been used for it’s “day job” – mainly pootling about from Brize Norton flying loops over various bits of territorial waters, with these exceptions:
24th March 2021
Brize Norton to Athens
25th March 2021
Athens to Athens, with a lot of flying loops. Probably re-fuelling, The Back to Brize Norton.
From the above lists, it seems very clear that the painting up of the RAF Voyager like a national mascot was unwarranted, and just an expensive vanity project.