Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson Says VIP RAF Voyager 'Is Never Available'

The Foreign Secretary has said he would like to have a 'Brexit jet', as he finds it "very difficult" to get hold of the Prime Minister's RAF...

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has said he would like to have a 'Brexit jet', after complaining the Prime Minister's RAF plane 'never seems to be available'.

The Foreign Secretary revealed its multiple users mean it is difficult for senior ministers to book when they need it, saying: "What I will say about the Voyager, I think it's great, but it seems to be very difficult to get hold of.

"It never seems to be available. I don't know who uses it, but it never seems to be available."

And he added: "Also, why does it have to be grey?"

Mr Johnson, who is on a five-day tour of Latin America, acknowledged that taxpayers would balk at the cost of buying a jet for ministers, but said he thought the spending would be justified if it was not "exorbitant".

Asked if he would like to have a "Brexit plane", he told reporters: "If there's a way of doing it that is not exorbitantly expensive then yes I think we probably do need something.

"The taxpayers won't want us to have some luxurious new plane, but I certainly think it's striking that we don't seem to have access to such a thing at the moment."

The Foreign Office currently has use of the Queen's Flight fleet of BAE 146 jets, one of which Mr Johnson used to fly to Moscow before Christmas.

He described the 26-seater planes as "superb... masterpieces of engineering", but said they were coming up to 40 years old.

Tony Blair's plans for a prime ministerial jet - branded "Blair Force One" for its similarity to the US President's private airliner - were dumped by Gordon Brown as a cost saving measure.

Voyager Departs RAF Brize Norton

The Voyager began its work transporting VIPs in 2016, after a £10 million refit under David Cameron.

But he took only one flight on it before handing over to Theresa May, whose travels have earned it the nickname of the "ThereasyJet".

In order to keep costs down, it was announced the 58-seater plane would continue conducting air-to-air refuelling missions for the RAF when not in VIP use, and retained its military livery.

Mr Johnson has also been a prominent supporter of the campaign for a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia.