As part of Government defence cuts, The Queen’s official fleet of planes is set to be sold off next year. For the first time in Her Majesty’s reign, there will not be dedicated aircraft for The Queen and members of The Royal Family to use for official visits.
The four BAE-146 regional planes are part of the RAF’s 32 Squadron also known as The Queen’s Flight. According to the Ministry of Defence, there are currently no plans to replace the four passenger jets.
The news comes as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Integrated Review.
Senior members of The Royal Family including The Queen, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to share the Prime Minister’s RAF Voyager plane which underwent a £900,000 revamp in 2020.
Wherever possible, members of The Royal Family do travel on scheduled commercial flights.
The decision to sell of The Queen’s official fleet has been met with criticism from some Members of Parliament. Tobias Ellwood, Chairman of the Commons Defence Committee said, “The selling off of the BAE-146’s will leave a gaping void in the RAF’s ability to meet civil and military taskings. The BAE-146 is a highly valued versatile aircraft that has served senior members of The Royal Family, military commanders and Prime Ministers with distinction for decades.”
Labour MP, Gareth Thomas, was also critical of the decision adding, “Ministers need to explain as a matter of urgency how The Queen and Royal Family will be transported to fill crucial royal and Commonwealth responsibilities.”
As part of the Integrated Review, important ships and frontline aircraft will also be withdrawn and there are plans to reduce the size of the Army by up to 10,000.
Photo: Commonwealth Secretariat