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.
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.
— Tommy’s Tweets (@TommyGs_Tweets) June 25, 2020
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.
Sky News showing footage of the PM’s Voyager taking off for the first time after its £900k paint job pic.twitter.com/BVnOCjMJYH
— John Stevens (@johnestevens) June 25, 2020
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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.
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.
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.”
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.