Private plane used by Rishi Sunak on prime ministerial business to be replaced with new jet that boasts upgraded ‘XXL lavatory’ and ‘increased VIP wardrobe’
The private plane used by Rishi Sunak on prime ministerial business is set to be replaced with a new jet that boasts an upgraded ‘XXL lavatory’ and ‘increased VIP wardrobe’.
The smaller plane, featuring the red, white and blue of the Union flag, will be swapped with a like-for-like replacement, including the upgrades, by December.
At no extra cost, the supplier will provide a toilet that is ’30in wider than [the] existing XL lavatory’ in the VIP cabin, a full-length mirror and changing bench, The Times reported.
The private plane used by Rishi Sunak on prime ministerial business is set to be replaced with a new jet that boasts an upgraded ‘XXL lavatory’ and ‘increased VIP wardrobe’
The Prime Minister and members of the Royal family lease an RAF Voyager (Airbus A330) and an Airbus A321 from Titan Airways
The plane contract has been extended until 2027 and the aircraft will also feature an ‘increased VIP wardrobe’, extra partitions and two conference tables.
The Airbus A321 is 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 – is used when ministers are flying even further afield.
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.
A Cabinet Office spokesman told MailOnline: ‘This is an update to a contract for the lease of a plane used [for] official visits.
‘There will be no change in the annual cost to the taxpayer.’
The interior of the Voyager had a £10million makeover in 2016, when David Cameron was prime minister.
Following the makeover, RAF Voyager was first used to take David Cameron and other ministers to the Nato summit in Poland in July 2016.
It comes as Mr Sunak faced criticism this week for using air travel across the UK.
As he embarked on a tour of northern England to promote Government help for deprived areas, Mr Sunak flew from RAF Northolt, north west London, to Blackpool.
His choice of a posh jet reserved for VIPs was the third time he had used an RAF aircraft in 10 days.
All three of those journeys were to parts of Britain with mainline train links to London.
Number 10 posted pictures online last week showing the PM boarding the French-made executive jet, which can carry 14 people, to visit Leeds
Appearing at a Q&A event in Morecambe to promote the latest allocations from the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ fund, the PM was quizzed about his choice of plane travel at taxpayers’ expense
Appearing at a Q&A event in Morecambe to promote the latest allocations from the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ fund, the PM was quizzed about his choice of plane travel at taxpayers’ expense.
‘I travel around so I can do lots of things in one day, I’m not travelling around just for my own enjoyment – although this is very enjoyable, of course,’ Mr Sunak said.
‘I’m travelling around so I can talk to people in Accrington this morning, then I’ve talked to you, then I’m going to get over to Hartlepool because I’m working on all of your behalves.
‘Trust me, I’m working as hard as I can to deliver for you and I travel to make myself as effective as possible.’
The 41-minute flight allowed Mr Sunak to avoid using the Avanti West Coast Mainline train service, which has been much criticised in recent months for horrific performance and punctuality.
An 8.30am train from Euston could have got the PM to Morecambe at 10.25am, if running on time.
No10 denied Mr Sunak chose to fly in order to avoid the trains, but Tory MP Mark Jenkinson, whose seat is in Cumbria, defended the flight by saying it would be ‘madness’ for the PM to take an ‘unreliable’ rail service.
The ministerial code says ministers should ‘ensure that they always make efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements’.
It adds: ‘Only members of the Cabinet and ministers in charge of departments have discretion to authorise special flights either for themselves or other ministers within their departments.
‘Non-scheduled flights may be authorised when a scheduled service is not available, or when it is essential to travel by air, but the requirements of official or Parliamentary business or security considerations preclude the journey being made by a scheduled service.’