Boris Force One: New $1m Paintjob Revealed

The new UK VIP transport plane has today finally broken cover. Boris Johnson’s paint job, which cost the taxpayer around $1m, has emerged from a hangar at Cambridge City Airport, to head off to Brize Norton to resume its regular duties, but with a very eye-catching new look.

Boris Force One
Boris Force One has taken off from Cambridge. Photo: Getty Images

The big reveal

Today, the world got its first glimpse of the RAF Voyager dubbed ‘Boris Force One,’ the VIP transport that has been controversially repainted at a cost to the UK taxpayer of £900,000. The first images began to emerge on Twitter earlier today, giving us a tantalizing glimpse of the vertical stabilizer painted in patriotic red, white, and blue.

Later in the day, the first photos began to emerge of the whole plane, as it was pushed back from the hangar in its full glory. The Voyager has been in a hangar at Cambridge City Airport for a couple of weeks while it was remodeled.

Repainted from its former RAF grey, the new scheme has a typical white base. However, it’s been thoroughly made over. We’re not sure if we love it or hate it.

After emerging from the hangar, the Voyager took to the skies for the first time since it was taken out of service for the paint job. The KC2 tanker, registered ZZ336, is heading back to its usual home at Brize Norton to resume regular duties.

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The livery

The RAF Voyager has been made over in very patriotic colors. The UK flag adorns the tail fin, with the colors sweeping down across the rear fuselage.

The fore fuselage has a UK blue ‘swoosh,’ a common feature on many VIP transports, and is further offset with the large United Kingdom lettering, which appears to be in gleaming gold.

Boris Force One
The aircraft has ‘United Kingdom’ in gold lettering down the side. Photo: Getty Images

You can be sure that this plane’s paint job is going to be as controversial as that very British product: Marmite. While the eyewatering cost is something to be debated, it sure is an eye-catching paint scheme.

Plenty of people are likening it to the Negus livery seen on British Airways’ aircraft from 1974 to 1980 (and, of course, it’s repainted 747s more recently). It certainly harks back to a BA design but is inimitably the UK VIP transport plane in every other respect.

British Airways Boeing 747 Negus
A British Airways Boeing 747 repainted in the carrier’s old Negus livery. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Keeping up with the neighbors

Although the UK government has been criticized for spending out on the plane’s makeover, particularly given the current economic climate, Downing Street has defended its decision. A spokesperson told the Daily Mail today,

“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.”

Boris Force One
Voyager is used for VIP transport, as well as military duties. Photo: Getty Images

The aircraft was already kitted out with a VIP interior, at a cost of £10m, which was done under the Cameron administration. As well as Boris Johnson, the aircraft is used to transport other ministers and members of the Royal Family.

Overall, the response to the reveal has been positive on social media, with commenters noting that ‘at last the UK has something to be proud of.’

What do you think of the new Boris Force One? Let us know in the comments.