UK

Boris Johnson gets SECOND red, white and blue jet

A second, brand new plane painted in the red, white and blue of the Union flag is being leased by the Prime Minister and members of the Royal Family for trips to Europe and the US.

The six-month-old Airbus A321, which was photographed at London Stansted Airport at the weekend, has been repainted with what a Government spokesperson called a ‘Global Britain livery’.  

Boris Johnson was criticised last year after it emerged his primary plane, the RAF Voyager, had been repainted in Union colours at a cost to taxpayers of £900,000 to boost ‘Brand Britain’.

A Government spokesperson told MailOnline the aircraft ‘will promote a strong image of the role the UK plays on the international stage’ and ‘offers value for money compared to the ad-hoc hire of private planes’.

Downing Street refused to be drawn on questions about the cost of the lease or the new paintwork, and instead confirmed details of the contracts for the plane will be published by the Government later.

However, furious MPs have slammed the ‘staggering’ acquisition of a second plane ahead of the landmark COP26 UN climate change conference, which is being hosted in Glasgow in November.  

Labour’s Clive Lewis, a former shadow minister for climate, told the Independent: ‘Why does he need two planes? There are better ways to show leadership in the world than having a carbon footprint the size of a Yeti.’  

A second, brand new plane painted in the red, white and blue of the Union flag is being leased by the Prime Minister and members of the Royal Family for trips to Europe and the US

The six-month-old Airbus A321, which was photographed at London Stansted Airport at the weekend, has been repainted with what a Government spokesperson called a 'Global Britain livery'

The six-month-old Airbus A321, which was photographed at London Stansted Airport at the weekend, has been repainted with what a Government spokesperson called a ‘Global Britain livery’

The new aircraft was painted in an all-black livery (pictured) while it was delivered from the Airbus facility in Hamburg to Titan Airways in October last year. It now features the same livery as the RAF Voyager

The new aircraft was painted in an all-black livery (pictured) while it was delivered from the Airbus facility in Hamburg to Titan Airways in October last year. It now features the same livery as the RAF Voyager

Boris Johnson was criticised last year after it emerged his primary plane, the RAF Voyager, had been repainted in Union colours at a cost to taxpayers of £900,000 to give a boost to 'Brand Britain'

Boris Johnson was criticised last year after it emerged his primary plane, the RAF Voyager, had been repainted in Union colours at a cost to taxpayers of £900,000 to give a boost to ‘Brand Britain’

Stewart Hosie of the SNP bashed Downing Street’s splurge on a ‘private Tory government jet’ while it also imposes ‘a public sector pay freeze, cuts to Universal Credit, and tax rises for millions of workers’.

The new aircraft was painted in an all-black livery while it was delivered from the Airbus facility in Hamburg to Titan Airways in October last year. It now features the same livery as the RAF Voyager, with ‘United Kingdom’ in gold font and a Union flag adorning the tail plane and ‘sharklet’ wingtips.

The plane will be used when officials are making short- or medium-haul trips to destinations in Europe and the US East Coast. The larger RAF Voyager – an Airbus A330 – will used when ministers are flying even further afield.

It is understood the A321, which is used by carriers including British Airways and easyJet, is being leased by the Government from Titan Airways. Titan declined to comment when approached by MailOnline.

Data from tracking service FlightRadar24 suggests the aircraft was flown from Norwich to Stansted Airport on Friday. On Sunday, a photo of the jet was posted on an aviation forum, and subsequently shared on social media. 

Last year, the RAF Voyager – which was previously a military grey – was resprayed in white, with a Union flag on the tailfin and United Kingdom written in gold on the fuselage.

Ministers hoped the new design would help boost ‘Brand Britain’ abroad, although critics mocked it as an expensive folly that would make Mr Johnson look like Austin Powers on tour.  

Britain does not have a prime ministerial plane used solely by Downing Street. Unlike the US President, who flies in Air Force One, the Prime Minister is not the Head of State.

Defending the £900,000 price tag, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘That incorporates the cost of creating a design that will promote the UK around the world without compromising the plane’s vital military role. 

The RAF Voyager underwent a £900,000 paint job, replacing the old grey design with a red, white and blue colour scheme

The RAF Voyager underwent a £900,000 paint job, replacing the old grey design with a red, white and blue colour scheme

The RAF Voyager will be used by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Royal Family on foreign trips

The RAF Voyager will be used by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Royal Family on foreign trips

The side of the RAF Voyager is marked with Queen Elizabeth's Royal Cypher and says United Kingdom in gold letters

The side of the RAF Voyager is marked with Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Cypher and says United Kingdom in gold letters

Boris Johnson also complained in 2018 while foreign secretary that the RAF Voyager jet, which is shared by the Prime Minister, senior Cabinet members and the royal family, 'never seems to be available'

Boris Johnson also complained in 2018 while foreign secretary that the RAF Voyager jet, which is shared by the Prime Minister, senior Cabinet members and the royal family, ‘never seems to be available’

‘At every stage we have worked to ensure value for money for the UK taxpayer and all of the work has been undertaken in the UK, directly benefiting British suppliers.’

On the cost, the spokesman said: ‘That incorporates the cost of creating a design that will promote the UK around the world without compromising the plane’s vital military role. 

‘At every stage we have worked to ensure value for money for the UK taxpayer and all of the work has been undertaken in the UK, directly benefiting British suppliers.’

The interior of the Voyager had a £10million makeover in 2016, when David Cameron was prime minister. 

Mr Johnson and other ministers, as well as members of the Royal Family, will be allowed to use the plane, which will also continue to be used as a refuelling aircraft. Following the £10million makeover, RAF Voyager was first used to take David Cameron and other ministers to the Nato summit in Poland in July 2016. 

Mr Johnson has previously questioned why the plane was grey, saying he would like to have a ‘Brexit plane’ to help him travel the world and promote the Government’s vision of global Britain.

He also complained in 2018 while foreign secretary that the RAF Voyager jet, which is shared by the Prime Minister, senior Cabinet members and the royal family, ‘never seems to be available’.       


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