This weekend saw the United Kingdom’s A330 ‘Boris Force One’ jet complete its first official engagement. However, rather than carrying UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the aircraft carried heir to the British Throne, Prince Charles, to the brand new Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
While the commercial aircraft order and delivery market has significantly slowed recently, this isn’t the case with governmental jets. Just this year, we’ve seen the first delivery out of three new Airbus A350s bound for Germany. Meanwhile, Air India employees were recently sanctioned for leaking images of the country’s VVIP Boeing 777 jet.
A trip to Berlin
In June 2020, the United Kingdom government revealed a new paint job for its VIP transport RAF Voyager, a modified Airbus A330. While the aircraft has regularly flown since its new livery was revealed, it has only now taken its first flight for its intended purpose.
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The aircraft’s first executive transport mission saw it ferrying Prince Charles and Camilla to Berlin. The two flew to the German capital city to observe the country’s Memorial Day on Sunday. The aircraft, registered ZZ336, departed from Brize Norton (BZZ) at 15:47 on Saturday. Following a one hour 45 minute flight cruising at 31,000 feet, it arrived at Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) at 18:33.
A first for Berlin Brandenburg?
Just two weeks ago, Simple Flying attended the opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport. On October 29th, the German Military practiced welcoming state guests at the airport’s new government terminal ahead of its opening.
As Charles and Camilla were welcomed to the country by members of the military lining a red carpet, this practice paid off. While most passengers arriving at BER will take the frequent rail connections into the city, the royals were greeted by a waiting black Mercedes.
Back to the United Kingdom
Prince Charles and Camilla only spent one night in Berlin. Following the memorial service yesterday, ZZ336 was back in the air at 16:03. The flight back to Brize Norton was slightly more direct, cruising at an altitude of 36,000 feet. The return flight time came in at one hour and 38 minutes. The aircraft landed back at Brize Norton at 16:41.
It’s unclear when the aircraft will be used for VIP transport again, given that it has taken almost half a year to receive its first use. Alongside the royal family on official business, it is also intended to fly Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, the aircraft retains its operational air to air refueling capabilities.
When the aircraft’s livery was first revealed, a Downing Street Spokesperson commented,
“This will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with national branding, similar to many other leaders’ planes, while also retaining its military air-to-air refueling capability.”
Were you excited to see the UK’s VIP transport jet finally used for that purpose? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!