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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Thursday, 19 November 2015

BRITISH CAMERONIAN TAKES TO THE AIR: RAF AIRBUS 330 AIR TO AIR FUEL TANKER TO GET PRIME MINISTERIAL FACELIFT

CONAIR ONE or the new British Cameronian..

An RAF AIRBUS A330 Voyager fly-by-wire bulk air to air refueller will soon be dumping aviation fuel, for decades of political hot air. Just about every tin pot dictator and minor head of state these days has his/her own aircraft except the UK. All that is about to change.

British politicians currently have to charter or risk bumping into the electorate by flying scheduled. Number 10 says its costing a fortune going charter, and this will save money. We say get a professional travel planner on the team, because that is a ridiculous statement, to make! Admittedly the Airbus A330 is a joy to convert as new custom pre-fabricated modules can be inserted, just chop the front end off and slot in the new interior modules into the outer carbon fibre shell, and it can also be converted back to in air refuelling.... if the next PM isn't happy with the tanker or décor...

Julian Bray Aviation Security & Operations Expert writes: The timing is all important, World threat levels are soaring, however the defence spending review is soon to be announced expected to inflict more pain on our already stretched resources unless the military chiefs can re-educate the old Etonians in the ways of modern warfare. Currently service chiefs privately are throwing their hands up in despair. The announcement today by Number 10, effectively pre-empts any negative comment.

The thinking is that Mr Cameron wants to be seen on the world stage and the red carpet laid at airports and a Guard of Honour at the airport, will add to the war being fought by media. It is also quite cunning as no doubt media organisations keen to get seats on the back end of Camforce ONE, will pay dearly for their tickets and in flight facilities. Its not know if Osborne & Little will supply the paint and fabric or Smythsons the onboard welcome packs...

Enhanced Satellite communications will also improve live TV and radio interviews directly from the flying A330 aircraft. It is however interesting thsat the Pope uses a standard Alitalia aircraft for his world tours, but there again the Pontiff does have his own exclusive terminal facility at Romes airport...effectively mothballed when he isn't flying.  British Cameronian One will have to make do with RAF Northolt...or even RAF Brize Norton, handy for the Cameronian country retreat...

_______

Government sources have said one of the RAF's air-to-air refuelling planes converted to a ministerial transport for use on long-haul trips will  cost around £10million. However this figure is disputed in aviation circles and suggest the final bill will be nearer £ 30million, its all about the accounting..

Ministers argue that the use of the A330 Voyager will save hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in charter costs hiring airliners from commercial carriers. The move is likely to prove highly controversial as Chancellor George Osborne prepares to unveil further deep cuts in next week's spending review.

It will draw inevitable comparisons with Tony Blair's plans for a prime ministerial jet - dubbed Blair Force One - which was ultimately blocked by Gordon Brown.

The plan will be formally set out in the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review on Monday. Government sources estimate that the change will save the taxpayer £775,000 a year in charter charges.

Currently Downing Street spends £6,7000 per flying hour on the Prime Minister's travel, but that is expected to come down to £2,000 under the new arrangements. In one trip alone, No 10 had to pay £100,000 to hire an aircraft at short notice to take Mr Cameron and members of the Royal Family to the funeral of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

A government spokesman said: " As part of the Government's defence review, we have been looking at ways to make better use of the RAF fleet to transport senior ministers and consequently deliver savings for taxpayers.

"We have decided to adapt one of our existing Voyager aircraft so that, in addition to its primary air tanking role, it can transport ministers and it will also be available for the Royal Family to use."
"In terms of reducing the travelling costs we are looking at moving away from long-distance chartering," one source said.



JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Aviation Expert, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 (ALL CODECS) e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 iPhone 0743 530 3145 www.aviationcomment.com   Contrib. Account #104764 53 FEED: http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlog  
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