The RAF Voyager (which is based on the Airbus A330) that has been converted to provide travel for the Royal Family and Government Ministers whilst continuing to perform air-to-air refuelling in support of RAF and allied aircraft, is now ready to enter service…

The Voyager revamp was announced as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review with the aim of providing a better value for money way of transporting Ministers rather than the current use of charter aircraft.

The transformation of the aircraft consisted of fitting 58 business seats to make it capable of its new role and offer a cost effective, secure and flexible transport solution. The new seating will allow it to transport sizeable business delegations of the type the Prime Minister has successfully led to India and China, as part of the Government’s work to create jobs and support economic growth.

The aircraft will also be available for the Royal family for official overseas visits undertaken at the request of the Government.

Using this aircraft will be significantly cheaper than using chartered flights, while also leaving the aircraft capable of continuing to fulfil its primary operational role of air-to-air refuelling tasks.

The aircraft will be based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire alongside the rest of the RAF Voyager fleet. It can fly from and to almost any airport across the world that can take an Airbus A330, and its range will allow it to reach much of the world without costly and time-consuming refuelling.

Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, Deputy Commander Capability said: “The refitting of this RAF Voyager to transform it from a standard air-to-air refuelling and air transport fit to an aircraft suitable for the additional role of VIP transport was completed quickly and efficiently with our Air Tanker partners. The reconfigured Voyager flying on its maiden VIP flight on Friday will proudly represent the UK and the RAF across the globe for many years to come.”

Mr Phill Blundell, CEO AirTanker Ltd said: “We are pleased to be delivering this additional service for the MOD. It is an excellent example of MOD and UK Industry working together to enhance the capability of Voyager for its maiden voyage on 8 July. It has been really satisfying to have worked with high quality UK based suppliers to deliver this project, showcasing the best of British in Aerospace.”