FlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 1965 posts, RR: 3 Posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3784 times:
Today's Mail on Sunday reports that the Chancellor Gordon Brown is set to approve RAF expenditure on new aircraft to replace 32 Squadron's (The Royal Flight) aging 2 BAe 146-100 and H.S.125 jets after the forthcoming General Election. This assumes a Labour victory, but even as a Conservative that has to be odds on.
The report states that there is concern with the economics of using the aging aircraft (RAF VC-10s are rarely used for VIP flights now for a similar reason), safety (In terms of potential attack) and the age and size of the present fleet (The range limited BAe 146-100 being the largest aircraft used). There is also the issue that for longhaul overseas visits both the Royal Family and Government now usually charter aircraft, normally a BA 777.
So, couple of open questions for discussion.
* Would purchase of a widebody (Even two) be likely, or would a A319CJ/Boeing BBJ be more likely, for longhaul trips?
* Could the use of the A330-200 for the Tanker programme make this type a potential candidate for a widebody aircraft?
* What type of aircraft would potentially replace the five H.S.125s?
LeonB1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3549 times:
I'd not be overly surprised if it were a BBJ or ACJ - I believe the government have chartered aircraft such as these from time to time. Not sure how much use an aircraft such as this would get though - can the cost be justified?
With regards to replacing the HS125s, I would have thought the obvious replacement would be some new Hawker 800XPs, but who knows! Quite some choice for aircraft in that size category, Citations, Learjets, Gulfstreams, etc. I'd expect politics to be involved in the decision though!
Stirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 27 Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3535 times:
It all depends on how much "Stuff" her majesty takes with her on the road....
While the A319CJ makes perfect sense, what about the need for transporting other vital components of the state visit?....what aircraft usually handles the job at the present and is the objective to consolidate movements into utilizing one aircraft?
Flybyguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 1791 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3484 times:
I think larger aircraft are more appropriate for government transport. To me, it seems that Tony Blair uses a British Airways B777 because of the ample seating capacity for his staff, the press, his security detail, etc. If the British government opts for smaller aircraft like an A319 or BBJ they may need several flying at once to do the job of one B777. I think a smaller aircraft like a Gulfstream V is more appropriate for the Queen as I believe her official functions are limited and therefore smaller staff is necessary.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
Cornish From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 8187 posts, RR: 56 Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3250 times:
Quoting BA380 (Reply 10): Having said that, the 777 may be too large for Andrew to land at Golf Courses, so that may complicate matters.
Yes between him and Margaret Beckett (!!) there's no opportunity for anyone else to get a go on them....
Much may depend if Blair gets his way with Blair Force One. Like many world leaders he will want something big like an A340 or 777to emphasise his importance, and besides he needs one to fit all his spin doctors on and other hangers-on.
The queen probably ain't bothered. She doesn't need to prove anything with a big aircraft - she's the queen and everybody knows it.
Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
Jonty From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 226 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3163 times:
Quoting Cornish (Reply 11): The queen probably ain't bothered. She doesn't need to prove anything with a big aircraft - she's the queen and everybody knows it.
definatly, Tony Blair has to try and compete with Bush, and lets face it our counrty is a wee bit smaller than theirs! Maybe compensating for his limited power??? not that the public would ever let him spend an obscene ammount of money on a giant aeroplane that would rarely be used!!!
The Queen on the other hand, well she's still queen on loads of countries, head on the Commonwealth, she knows no one can compete with that, so she's pretty happy just to sit in her little BAe 146 with the corgies, drinking tea knowing she doesn't have to compete with anyone! Lol!
FlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 1965 posts, RR: 3 Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3100 times:
Just to clarify, the Mail on Sunday report said that it was Gordon Brown, not Tony Blair, that was looking at replacing the Royal flight fleet. The move is understood to be partly a move against Blair, as Brown controls the purse strings tightly. Plus, as the Royal Flight is now used for Government as well as Royal business, consideration does need to be given to use of aircraft suitable for overseas trips. The VC-10s were used a lot in a VIP configuration for overseas visits by Prime Ministers, but Blair has favoured chartering a BA 777 in recent years. A deicated aircraft, with enhanced securityfacilities, might be considered more appropriate.
Personally, I think an A330-200 (RR powered of course!) could be a real contender, especially as commonaility with the proposed Tanker fleet for maintenance purposes could be achieved (One of the reasons a VC-10 was VIP configured).
As for smaller aircraft, could be possible a couple of A319CJs would be acquired, along with some smaller jets.
I think Boeings would be out of the question for simple political reasons, with Airbus being a European company, part British owned. It's the same reason RR would have to be favourite for engines (Or IAE on any A319CJ). The UK press might dub any aircraft Blair Force One, but if it was a GE powered 777 acquired for the Royal Flight I think they might go to town!
PM From India, joined Feb 2005, 6714 posts, RR: 66 Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3042 times:
Firstly, before anyone objects, although I live in Tanzania (hence the flag), I am British and paid taxes for many years so I'll dare to step into this one.
I'm NOT in favour of "mine's bigger than yours" and I'm conscious that it's the taxpayer who has to foot the bill. Moreover, I'm a republican (in the British rather than US sense!) so I don't agree with the very presence of a Royal Flight anyway.
I have often wondered about the marketing benefit of the UK Government (not the Queen, not (just) Tony Blair) having an A340-500. A substantial % of it is UK-built. What if RR and BAE (for starters) donated their parts and the Exchequer paid only for those parts sourced elsewhere? It would be a cheaper option for the state, it wouldn't hurt RR and BAE much (and they could no doubt fiddle some sort of tax break to compensate themselves anyway), and sundry British ministers and Royals (ugh) stwepping off a smart A345 after a non-stop flight to wherever would promote British (and European) engineering abroad.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not at all patriotic or nationalistic myself but for those who are I could see an A340-500 bearing a few discreet union flags bringing a lump to their throats.
More realistically? An A319CJ with IAE engines for longer flights and a few smaller bizjets for shuttling around Europe.
By the way, does the Royal Flight still fly Wessex choppers???! Now that's easy - get a couple of EH101s.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2882 times:
Quoting PM (Reply 14): By the way, does the Royal Flight still fly Wessex choppers???
No - these were replaced a while back, with (I think !) Agusta 109s - they look quite good in Royal Flight colours.
I like the idea of the RAF having some A340-500's for long-range airlift capability, with the same forward cargo door / combi arrangement as the A330 tankers (they are having a forward cargo door, right ?) - it would very straightforward to equip one of them with a palletised VIP suite for use when TB or Her Maj need to go somewhere.
FlyLondon From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 376 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2757 times:
Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 15): I think it's pretty embarrasing for our nation that we have to rely on a bog standard chartered BA777 when our leaders travel overseas.
We one of the richest nations on earth and we have to resort to hiring out an a/c from an airline.
Even much smaller poorer nations have decent a/c to fly their leaders around.
Frankly I don't feel the need to emulate tinpot dictators. In a modern and accountable governmental system taxpayers money should be spent wisely. However given the current security threat and the fact that increasingly overseas travel is a necessary part of governmental and royal life, an aircraft purchase may represent taxpayer value - the security of knowing that their state adminstrative figures are safe.