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UK PM's new plane takes first flight in new Union Jack-themed paint job

June 25, 2020
3 min read
UK PM's new plane takes first flight in new Union Jack-themed paint job
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s aircraft took to the skies for the first time with its new paint job. In video captured by SkyNews, the Royal Air Force Voyager A330 exited the paint shop in Cambridgeshire and took its first flight.

The Airbus A330’s new paint job, which reportedly $1.1 million (cost £900,000)— transformed the aircraft from a grey color with “Royal Air Force” written on the fuselage to this updated design to “better represent” the prime minister on official trips. The new livery features a predominantly white color with “United Kingdom” written on the fuselage. But the most striking feature of the new livery is the tailfin design, which features a Union Jack flag, with some of the coloring running as a streak down the side of the fuselage.

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CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: RAF Voyager, the aircraft used by the Prime Minister and members of the Royal family, takes flight for the first time, since receiving a £900,000 makeover, on June 25, 2020 in Cambridge, England. It is hoped by Ministers that the new colour scheme will boost "brand Britain" during the trade takes that are set to happen in the future, post-Brexit. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

You can watch the video of the RAF Voyager taking off from Cambridgeshire in the Sky News video below.

The RAF Voyager is the aircraft used by the prime minister, other ministers and senior members of the royal family when they travel on official engagements. The A330 is traditionally used for military purposes and was originally painted in grey to better camouflage the aircraft when it was on official defense missions.

Related: How does the royal family fly?

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“This will mean that the plane can better represent the U.K. around the world with national branding, which will be in line with many other leaders’ planes,” a Downing Street spokesperson told The Guardian.

The RAF Voyager is one of a fleet of nine A330s used as transport and tankers for inflight refuelling of other aircraft. Then-prime minister David Cameron began using it in 2016, after a retrofitting that cost $12.4 million (£10 million).

Other world leaders are getting new or updated modes of transportation. In March, we got a first look at the new German Airbus A350, used to carry the chancellor, president and other high-level officials. And in the U.S., the president will get two new Air Force Ones when the very expensive modification of two civilian Boeing 747s is completed in 2024.

Featured image by Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more