31 JANUARY 2022


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Article from BTNews 31 JANUARY 2022

RAF – Titan A321 for Liz Truss *

Titan Airways has taken into its fleet a pair of Airbus A321neoLR aircraft, one of which has been used to fly British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on an expensive trip to Australia.

Painted in the Official UK colour scheme and registered G-XATA it appears to be on full time charter to the UK Government, as any use would seem to have formal OK government recognition.  An Arsenal/Emirates football team flying to Newcastle from Stansted would seem to be an anomaly.

The use of the RAF painted aircraft has come in for criticism as it was far more expensive, and slower than using a daily 22hr service with a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner via Darwin.

Environmental campaigners labelled the use of the private jet “shockingly privileged and an outrageous source of emissions”.

The 14-strong party included the minister’s support team and a trade group. BTN is not sure if the commercial passengers paid their own Business Class fare, which would be the case with journalists.  Estimates of the cost put it at £500,000 as against £8,000 First Class.  The journey time in the less comfortable aircraft was seven hours more and included stops at Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, both requiring the local British Embassy to turn out.

But the Foreign Office said the use of the aircraft was “fully within rules set out in the Ministerial Code”.

Defending her use of the private jet to travel to Australia, Truss insisted that every trip was based on “value for money” and allowed her to work overseas, which she said “ultimately delivered for the British people”.

She told Sky News: “Every Government decision is based on value for money. We have a government plane specifically so ministers – like me in my role as Foreign Secretary – can go and do the work overseas, which is ultimately delivering for the British people”.


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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Stephen Davis, Toronto Canada

My nephew in the UK is an avionics mechanic servicing & maintaining private aircraft. About 20 years ago he asked me to guess who were the most frequent users of private aircraft. When I surmised, business people or perhaps rock stars he said, "No, it's 90% politicians every time".

GEOFF MOORE, United Kingdom

Nice item Malcolm about the Titan charter story !

Alan Bowen, UK

It has been widely reported that Titan get paid whether the plane flies or not and and daily rate is around £100K, if true then the flight, if not the object of it, makes sense. A case of 'nice work if you can get it' for the airline

James Southern , Uk

I wonder if Boris will take the A321 or the A330 to Ukrainian? Now he has a choice of two?

Simon Grigor, United Kingdom

Compared to the government VIP fleets used by, for example, Germany or France, our A.321 (G-XATW, by the way, not 'ATA) and A.330 is a fairly modest selection. My issue would be more about what the UK got out of this trip - the tangible benefits seemed pretty non-existant to me. Although it did allow Liz 'photo opportunity' Truss more self-publicity, of course......

James Southern, UK

I think you’ll find this unit in 80 club 10 economy and not as in your seat plan.

James Southern , Uk

I wonder if Boris will take the A321 or the A330 to Ukrainian? Now he has a choice of two?