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November 19, 2015

UK to cut costs on VIP transport with Voyager A330

The UK is planning to refurbish military air transport aircraft RAF Voyager A330 for the transport of the country's prime minister, top ministers and the royal family.

By Prasanth Katam

voyager

The UK is planning to refurbish military air transport aircraft RAF Voyager A330 for the transport of the country’s prime minister, top ministers and the royal family.

The £10m refit will enable the government to cut costs on the transport of its top leaders, who currently use chartered flights for their foreign trips.

Currently Prime Minister David Cameron and senior ministers use 32 (The Royal) Squadron, for short haul flights and charter commercial flights for longer trips.

According to media reports, up to £775,000 is spent annually on charter flights with each flying hour costing around £6,700.

In contrast, the RAF aircraft would cost £2,000, and it will not be luxurious, unidentified sources in the government said.

The source told the Telegraph: "This is about saving taxpayers’ money.

"There will be upfront costs but by using a refitted RAF Voyager instead of chartering private aircraft for each long-distance trip, we will save taxpayers around £775,000 a year."

Based on the modern Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft, RAF Voyager provides the RAF with strategic air transport and aeromedical capability, and air-to-air refueling.

"There will be upfront costs but by using a refitted RAF Voyager instead of chartering private aircraft for each long-distance trip, we will save taxpayers around £775,000 a year."

Operating on two Rolls Royce Trent 772B Turbofans, the aircraft has a maximum speed of 493 knots, range of 4,500nm and maximum altitude of 41,000ft.

It accommodates 291 passengers and has maximum fuel capacity of 111t.

When not in use for the transportation of the VIPs, the refurbished aircraft will back to do its refueling duties for the military.

Earlier this week, David Cameron announced a £2bn increase in military spending to deal with IS threat. The additional budget will be spent on special forces, drones and fighter aircraft.


Image: RAF Voyager performs air-to-air refueling of RAF aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Angel Nikolov.

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