Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter Since 1995

Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter

Since 1995

wayne albertson articles

Presidential Jets And Royal Transport

I am quite interested in how various countries deal with transportation for their leaders. Aircraft dedicated for special use are often a status symbol either for the country or their particular leader at the time.

The days of national 'flag carriers', when airlines were frequently owned by the government and the livery included some variation of the nation's flag, are increasingly in the past. Airlines today are mostly private corporations that are profit oriented and promote their own brand.

The people at Simple Flying have published an article and video about some of these special aircraft that I very much enjoyed (links below).

Clearly, Air Force One is the most well known aircraft dedicated to the transport of a world leader. It is very important to the United States that the appearance of these two aircraft (SAM28000 & SAM29000) reflect the strength of the United States.

Uniquely, the Sultan of Brunei is a licensed pilot and often takes the controls on one of the country's fleet of A340's and B-747's himself.

Russia seems to be the most elaborate in terms of security to transport President Vladimir Putin. A fleet of four Ilyushin Il-96's is used with the one actually carrying the President kept secret.

The biggest surprise for me is that, despite being the first country to dedicate an aircraft for its head of state, the United Kingdom is relatively modest in transporting the Royal Family and the Prime Minister. The Royal Air Force's 32nd squadron is responsible for them with an A330 (ZZ336) being the main VIP aircraft but the cabin is kept standard without special office space. When not in use for transporting VIP"s, the aircraft serves as a troop transport and refueling tanker, like the 13 other RAF A330's. In 2020, it received a controversial $1 million paint job in UK colours. I think that it is a very sharp looking aircraft (image below).

What about Canada? We are very much like the UK; an aircraft from the RCAF fleet is used to transport our VIP's. See my article in NetLetter #1338 for more on 'Oh Canada! 01'.

Click Here for the full article from Simple Flying. Click the image below for the accompanying video. 

tmb 550 zz336