PlaneIf you were a head of state or Prime Minister, wouldn’t you want your own plane? Or perhaps the question should be how does the UK government not already have a dedicated plane for state business. Yet the decision this week to purchase 2 planes for use by the Prime Minister, the Queen and others – at a cost of about £12 million a year to run them – has raised an enormous storm. Story from the Guardian News Blog here, and an analysis of the plane from The Times here.

Let’s face it: Blair (or future PMs) are going to have to fly around anyway. £12 million is a pittance in the overall government budget. And if this ensures safety for the PM, and allows better structuring of his work, then what is the problem? I simply hope that Blair does not want to use his plane in the way Jacques Chirac has, keeping the plane in the air for twice the time needed so he could sleep on the way to Sochi – BBC news story here.

Last but not least, I can completely understand why Blair – like anyone else with any sense – would want to avoid normal flights, especially from Heathrow (where I was massively delayed again yesterday!) But the PM’s time is more valuable than mine, and if he needs to get to summits or meetings, then let’s get him there in a sensible fashion.

4 Comments

  1. Let’s hope he will at least buy Airbus, not Boeing. The English have a foolish tradition of purposely shooting themselves in the foot, only to please Uncle Sam.

  2. I agree; there is no need to make fuss around this. The Czech government has got a several planes (I think 4 or so), thus would be rather surprising if Britain did not have any. Mind you, there have been calls recently not to get new planes for the Czech officials once the current ones have to be replaced.

    Let us just hope that the planes will be comfortable enough to provide enough first class seats for Prince Charles and his entourage should he be accompanying the PM. Remember his encounter of his Hong Kong visit…

  3. Funny enough, buying an airplane by the government was one of the largest scandals in the history of Slovenian politics (how important is that, ah?). They wanted to replace the old one with a fancy Falcon. After the news went public, there was opposition everywhere and in the end the government backed down, after already ordering the plane. I think it currently leases the plane and still flies the old one and regular flights. I think equally the catch is not about whether Blair sould have a plane, but what kind of plane he wants.

  4. Heh. Yes, and he’s only plumping for 2nd hand ones too (and rented at that). If I were Dubya, I’d be taking the piss out of him right royally for arriving in such skanky transport – he’ll probably have to try and park it round the back rather than have any glamorous AF1 style tarmac shots.
    Still “Blair buys triple pack sandwich rather than double” would get on the front of the Mail these days…

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