Air transports of heads of state and government
Some nations maintain one or more special aircraft to transport their heads of state and government. One in particular has been immortalised in popular culture: Air Force One, used by the President of the United States and operated by the United States Air Force.
The first head of state or government to receive official and dedicated air transport was the British Monarch. In 1928, two Westland Wapitis, were delivered to No. 24 Squadron at RAF Northolt for the express purpose of the transportation of the Royal Family. Between 1929 and 1935 the Prince of Wales Edward purchased 13 aircraft. Although the RAF maintained at least one of these aircraft for a time the Prince of Wales eventually became solely responsible for the aircraft.
When the Prince ascended to the throne in 1936 as Edward VIII, The King's Flight was formed as the world's first head of state aircraft unit. This unit initially used the King's own de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide; however this was replaced in May 1937 by an Airspeed AS.6J Envoy III.
In the US, prior to World War II, overseas and cross-country presidential travel was rare. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to fly in an aircraft while in office. During World War II, Roosevelt traveled on the Dixie Clipper, a Pan Am-crewed Boeing 314 flying boat to the 1943 Casablanca Conference, in Morocco, a flight that covered 5,500 miles (in three "legs").
The first dedicated aircraft proposed for presidential use was a C-87A VIP transport aircraft. This aircraft, number 41-24159, was re-modified in 1943 for use as a presidential VIP transport, the Guess Where II, intended to carry President Franklin D. Roosevelt on international trips. The Secret Service subsequently reconfigured a Douglas C-54 Skymaster for duty as a presidential transport. This VC-54C aircraft, nicknamed the Sacred Cow, included a sleeping area, radio telephone, and retractable elevator to discreetly lift Roosevelt in his wheelchair. As modified, the VC-54C was used by President Roosevelt only once, on his trip to the Yalta Conference in February 1945.
In the postwar period, governments around the world have instituted similar provisions for the official aerial transportation of their heads of state and government.
Argentina operates a fleet of airplanes and helicopters for exclusive use by President of Argentina and his family. This set of aircrafts is known as the Agrupación Aérea Presidencial (Spanish for Presidential Air Group) and belongs to one of the Departments of the Presidency, called Military House. This is responsible for the presidential security and transportation.
The called Tango 01, aircraft performs international voyages, can not fly to several countries by possible orders to seizure of Vulture Funds (are demanding payment of debt bonds to Argentina state). Because of this, sometimes executive jets are rented.
Currently, the fleet of the Presidency of the Nation consists of:
- Five airplanes
|Fokker F-28-4000 Fellowship||T-02|
|Fokker F-28-1000C Fellowship||T-03|
- Three helicopters
|Sikorsky S-70A Black Hawk||H-01|
No. 34 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force operates the current VIP fleet of two 737 Boeing Business Jets and three Challenger 604s for use by Australian officials; in particular the Australian Royal Family, Governor-General, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Leaders of Political Parties not in Government and the Deputy Prime-Minister. The aircraft are regularly used for both domestic and international travel.
The two 737 BBJs were acquired on a 13-year lease in 2002 and are fitted with facilities such as conference tables, offices suites and secure satellite and communication capabilities. The two planes also have a longer range than is standard for 737 BBJs. Both the BBJs and Challengers are based at Defence Establishment Fairbairn in Canberra and are maintained by Qantas Defence Services.
The President of Azerbaijan uses a Boeing 767-300 "Baku-1", equipped with jamming equipment, anti-missile systems and air-to-air refueling facility. This airplane is named after country's capital city Baku. Airbus A319-115X CJ "Baku" is used as back-up aircraft. A Gulfstream G550 is also used. Azerbaijani Air Force has also leased from Azerbaijan Airlines one Tupolev Tu-154 "Absheron" for governmental flights.
The President and the Prime Minister travel on a specially reserved Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft. For long distance flights or flights with an especially large entourage, usually a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is used, whereas for medium to short distance flights an Airbus A310 aircraft is used. In many cases, two Biman aircraft are reserved for government flights, one as a standby aircraft. The Bangladesh Air Force has a VVIP fleet of four helicopters, two Mi-8 and 2 Bell 212 helicopters. One is always reserved for VVIP flights. The other three for carrying the staff and entourage.
The aircraft, instead of being painted sky blue as normal Belavia planes, is painted in red and green. These colors are derived from the national flag. The English and Belarusian name of the country, "Беларусь", appear near the door on both sides in red. On the tail-fin of the plane, the national emblem appears in full color.
For the transport of the royal family and the members of the Government, Belgium has the following aircraft from the 15th Wing Transport of the Air Component of the Armed Forces: one leased Airbus A321, two Dassault Falcon 20 modernised in 2004, one Dassault Falcon 900 for the transport of (V)VIP over very long distances in exceptional comfort conditions, two Embraer ERJ 135 and two Embraer ERJ 145.
The Bolivian Air Force operates a Sabreliner business-jet, acquired in 1975 for use by the President and government officials. In July 2010, the Bolivian government bought a Dassault Falcon 900EX for use by the President. In July 2013, the Bolivian government acquire a Dassault Falcon 50EX, the aircraft will be used exclusively by the Executive Body. The Bolivian government also authorizes the Ministry of Defence buying an aircraft Beechcraft King Air 250 and an aircraft Beechcraft King Air 350i for to upgrade aircraft fleet of the Bolivian Air Force.
- 1 x Falcon 900EX EASy M-ATOS used as Presidential Aircraft.
- 1 x Dassault Falcon 50EX used by the executive branch.
The main Presidential aircraft used by the Brazilian Government is a modified Airbus A319, designated by the Brazilian Air Force as VC-1A and officially christened as the "Santos-Dumont", after the Brazilian aviation pioneer. The VC-1A is used for transporting the President on international medium and long-range travel. For short-range flights the President is transported in one of the two modified Embraer 190 presidential jets. When an aircraft is transporting the President of Brazil it uses the callsign Força Aérea 01 (Brazilian Air Force One), ICAO code BRS01.
The Special Transport Group (GTE) of the Brazilian Air Force is responsible for transporting the President, the Vice-President and senior ministers of the Brazilian Government. The GTE comprises 22 aircraft:
- A modified VIP-configured Airbus A319 (VC-1A) "Santos-Dumont" used on all international flights carrying the President.
- Two modified VIP-configured Embraer 190 jets, "Bartolomeu de Gusmão" and "Augusto Severo", used on domestic and regional flights carrying the President.
- Two VIP-configured Eurocopter Super Puma (VH-34) presidential helicopters.
- Two VIP-configured Embraer ERJ-135 (VC-99C) aircraft.
- Ten Embraer ERJ-145 (C-99A) aircraft.
- Three Gates Learjet 35 (VU-35) jets.
The fleet is headquartered at the Brasília Air Force Base (BABR).
His Majesty The Sultan's Flight (HMSF) has several aircraft in VIP configuration, designed by Reese Design and modified by L3 Communications, on which to travel internationally. The fleet of aircraft is used exclusively for the Sultan of Brunei and members of the Royal Family.
- Boeing 767-200ER In service 1992. Bought for approx $113m and $120m outfit
- Boeing 747-400 In service 1990. Bought for approx $100m and $120m outfit
- Airbus A340-200 In service 1997. Bought for approx $100m and $120m outfit
- 2 x Sikorsky S-70A In service 1997
The Royal Canadian Air Force operates five Airbus A310-300s (CC-150 Polaris), flown by crews of 437 Transport Squadron based at CFB Trenton; four are configured as normal airliners with cargo transport and aerial refuelling capability, while one, No. 001, is operated in a VIP configuration and charged with flying the Queen of Canada, Governor General of Canada, other members of the British Royal Family, the Prime Minister of Canada, and other high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries. The CC-150 Polaris is primarily used for long distance trips; for short distance trips, four Bombardier Challenger 604 business jets (CC-144), operated by 412 Squadron are used.
Nowadays, the transportation is under the responsibility of the Chilean Air Force, which operates the following aircraft:
- 1 Boeing 737-500
- 1 Beechcraft 200 King Air
- 1 Gulfstream IV
- 1 Boeing 767-300ER. This aircraft was bought to replace the Boeing 737 in transcontinental flights. As of 2009 it is the only VIP FACh aircraft which uses the standard Chilean military livery, considering its multipurpose as VIP and freight transporter.
Formerly, FACh used a Boeing 707-320C which is still in service for military purposes.
Air transportation for the President, Premier or government officials of China is managed and operated by the 34th division of People's Liberation Army Air Force. eight Boeing 737-300s and two 737-700s are used for these missions.
A Boeing 767-300ER was purchased by the Chinese government for use by President Jiang Zemin in 2000. This Boeing 767 was originally ordered by Delta Air Lines. An international incident occurred in 2001 when the government claimed it had discovered 27 bugs embedded in the aircraft's interior; the plane had been refitted in San Antonio, Texas. It had since been converted back to a normal passenger airliner and transferred to Air China
A Commercial Air China Boeing 747-4J6 is converted for international travel when necessary.
The PLAAF 34th division was formed in 1959. Types of aircraft formerly used for VIP air transportation including Vickers Viscount, Ilyushin Il-18 and Hawker Siddeley Trident. The plane which crashed in Mongolia in 1971, carrying defecting marshal Lin Biao, was a Trident registered as CAAC B-256, piloted by Pan Jingyin (潘景寅), deputy commander of the 34th division.
The Chief Executive of Macau travels abroad (and to mainland China destinations) on commercial aircraft operated by Air Macau, the de facto flag carriers of the territory. As Macau is a small locale, there is no need for air travel within the territory.
In 1933 Colombia acquired its first presidential transport airplane, a Junkers Ju 52/3m, one of the most advanced aircraft of that time. It served former Colombian president Enrique Olaya Herrera until its retirement from service in 1950. From 1953 to 1972 a Douglas C-54 Skymaster served as presidential airplane starting with the dictatorship of Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (1953–57).
In 2005, Colombia acquired a Boeing BBJ1 for presidential transport. Also 2 Focker 28, 1 Embraer legacy 600, 1 Lear jet 60, 2 Helicopter Bell 412, 1 Helicopter Sikorsky UH60
The Air Surveillance Service is a department of the Ministry of Public Security which is in charge of police surveillance in airspace. This department has a Beechcraft King Air F90-1 and MD 600N helicopter. First the aircraft are available for surveillance and second for transporting the President of Costa Rica and other government dignitaries.
The Government Agency is responsible for transporting of the Croatian President, the Prime Minister and other Croatian government officials. It operates a Challenger CL-604, a low-visibility grey VIP-configured Croatian Air Force Mi-8MTV-1 is used for helicopter transport.
Transportation for the Cuban President is the responsibility of Cubana de Aviación, one of Cuba's state-owned airlines. Although the entire fleet is available for presidential use, the most commonly used aircraft are:
2 Ilyushin Il-96 widebody for long distances
1 Ilyushin Il-62 long range for government officials
3 Yakovlev Yak-40 for short range and unpaved runways
The Czech Air Force operates two Airbus A319CJs, a Bombardier Challenger 600, two Yakovlev Yak-40 aircraftr and Mil Mi-8 helicopters for VIP transport, primarily that of the President, Prime Minister, and members of Government and Parliament of the Czech Republic.
The Royal Danish Air Force operates three Challenger CL-604 for VIP transport, primarily that of the government and The Danish Royal Family. These airplanes are also used for environmental control and fishery control around Greenland and the North Sea. Furthermore, the Danish Royal Family have one AgustaWestland EH101 Merlin at their disposal. Ministers also fly on commercial airlines such as Scandinavian Airlines.
Ecuador has a Dassault Falcon 7X and an Embraer Legacy 600 for presidential short and long range transport. Aircraft from the flag-carrier airline TAME's fleet, including Airbus A319 and Embraer E-Jets can also be drafted for government use.
The Egyptian government operates an Airbus A340-200 as a VIP transport. The first presidential Airplane in Egypt was given as a gift from Saudi Arabia to Egyptian President Sadat. Before that, the President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, traveled using a rented airplane from the National Egyptian Air company, Egypt Air.
El Salvador's president Mauricio Funes uses a deluxe version of the Bell 412 helicopter for local flights. The President also has military planes, helicopters and a presidential turboprop for his use. For international flights, a Beechjet 400A is used from its base at Ilopango Airport at San Salvador.
The Escadron de transport, d'entraînement et de calibrage 00.065 (ETEC 65, "Transportation, training and calibration squadron") is the unit of the French Air Force, under direct command of the Minister of Defence, in charge of the transportation of the President, the Prime Minister and other French government officials.
In 2009, the French National Assembly approved a specific budget of 185 million euros for the purchase and modification of an Airbus A330-223 from Air Caraibes to be reserved for the exclusive use of the President of the Republic.
The airfleet used by Germany's senior government officials consists of twelve aircraft:
- 2 x Airbus A340-313X VIP including the "Konrad Adenauer"
- 2 x Airbus A319-133X CJ
- 4 x Bombardier Global 5000
- 3 x Eurocopter AS532 Cougar
They use two Airbus A340-313X VIP aircraft, previously of Germany's Lufthansa, redesigned by Lufthansa Technik in a VIP configuration, including sleeping rooms and an anti-missile system. The airplanes are named after Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of (West) Germany, and Theodor Heuss, its first President. Until 2011 Germany's government officials used two Airbus A310-304 VIP carrying the same names, previously of East Germany's Interflug.
Georgian Airways operated single Bombardier Challenger 850 since 2007 to carry President of Georgia and Government. In 2011 Gulfstream 450 was added to inventory, possibly replacing Challenger in VIP transport role. Georgian Air Force previously operated, now retired, Tu-134A-3.
The president flies on a Falcon EX 900 jet.
Greece's prime minister had a Gulfstream V at his disposal, which is under the operational command of the Hellenic Air Force. The airplane was bought by the government of Costas Simitis for the needs of Greece's 2003 EU presidency and the preparations of the 2004 Olympic Games. The VIP transport squadron (112 Combat Wing at the Elefsis Air Force Base) of the Hellenic Air Force also operates two Embraer business jets. For long haul flights the Prime Minister and other officials used one of the Airbus A340-300x's from the government owned Olympic Airlines when they were still in service. The A340 aircraft were used for the official visit of the Greek Prime minister to Australia in 2007.
Two other aircraft used over the last two decades for the same purpose raised controversy. A Dassault Falcon 900, had a range of technical problems culminating in an accident that cost the life of the deputy minister of foreign affairs Giannos Kranidiotis and five other people due to severe in-flight pitch oscillations 20 minutes before landing at Bucharest on 9 September 1999.
Under executive order 2954/28-8-12, the Greek government bestowed the 30-seat Embraer to the Hellenic Air Force to be used for pilot training, patient airlift and organ transplant transportation.
The president and other high-ranking government officials of Iran are still using the aged but famous Shahin, a special VIP designed Boeing 707 which was ordered and purchased by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s. It was initially far more luxuriously outfitted than US Air Force One, but after the Iranian Revolution it was redesigned as a normal VIP aircraft. Another VIP airliner, an Airbus A321 which was purchased during the 1990s, is also used on medium range trips of high officials like the Foreign Minister, the Speaker of Parliament and the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. The other VIP planes in use by the government consist of 1 Dassault Falcon 20, 3 Dassault Falcon 50 and 1 Lockheed JetStar all operated by the Iranian Air Force. The government of Iran also owns a Boeing 727 but it is stored in Iran and no longer used. The interior retains its VIP configuration ordered by Henry Ford II in the 1960s.
Saddam Hussein had his own personal custom made 747SP for his travel as well as few Boeing 727s and Falcons for Governmental use.
Air India One (AIC001) is the call-sign of any aircraft with the Prime Minister of India, President of India or the Vice President of India on board. Since 2003, four Boeing 747-437B, equipped with jamming equipment, anti-missile systems and air-to-air refueling facility, have been used as Air India One. The aircraft are operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF's Air Headquarters Communications Squadron, based at Indira Gandhi International Airport (formerly Palam Air Force Base) in New Delhi, is in charge of operating these aircraft. Other than the AirIndia One, there are three more aircraft used when President, Vice President or Prime Minister makes domestic tours. These are specially designed Boeing 737 BBJs named Rajdoot, Rajhans and Rajkamal.
The Government of India uses Air India aircraft for the overseas transportation of its officials. Other Union Cabinet ministers and government officials may travel in AI-001 with the Prime Minister's consent. For domestic travel, the Prime Minister and the President use an Indian Air Force Boeing 737-200, which is also equipped with security specifications. In 2008, the Indian Air Force inducted 3 Boeing Business Jets which are used by VVIP Government officials. These aircraft have a range of 3,000 to 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) and are fitted with encrypted satellite communication facilities and advanced navigation aids. The jets are also equipped with an advanced missile warning system, a missile deflecting shield and electronic counter measures so as to provide protection from any ground-based or air-borne threats.
In 2009 India ordered 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters, for the Indian President and Prime Minister. The AW-101 was selected after competing against the Sikorsky S-92 Superhawk in field trials in 2008.
The President of Indonesia and the Vice President formerly used aircraft chartered from Garuda Indonesia for air travel. Boeing 737-800s were used for domestic flights and short-range international flights; and Airbus A330-300s were used for most overseas trips and state visits. The Indonesian Air Force also has special VIP squadrons for the President, Vice President and government ministers. These are the 17th Air Squadron (Indonesian: Skadron Udara 17) operating Avro RJ85, Boeing 737-200, Boeing 737-400, Fokker F27-400, Fokker F28-1000 and Lockheed C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft; and the 45th Air Squadron (Indonesian: Skadron Udara 45) flying Aérospatiale AS 332L-1 Super Puma helicopters. All those aircraft and helicopters are based at Halim Perdanakusuma Airforce Base, Jakarta. Almost all presidential flights depart from there.
In January 2010, the Indonesian Government announced a USD 200 million budget to acquire an aircraft for presidential and government use. The government claimed the cost of operating its own aircraft would be lower than chartering Garuda aircraft. In February 2012, a BBJ2 variant of the 737-800 was ordered from Boeing. After several delays the BBJ2 was delivered on 10 April 2014 and received by the Indonesia Ministry of State Secretary Sudi Silalahi.
The Irish Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) is part of the Irish Air Corps, it provides secure transport to the President of Ireland, An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste, and members of the government and their staff, both within and outside Ireland.
The Italian Air Force operates three Airbus Corporate Jets. One Airbus is equipped with 30 seats for use by the Prime Minister or President, the other aircraft have 50 seats for use of government officials. Two smaller Dassault Falcon 50 and five Dassault Falcon 900 (3 EC and 2 EASy) are also used for government transport. Two Agusta SH-3D Sea Kings and two AgustaWestland AW139 are operated for use by the President and Government officials and are also used by the Pope. All aircraft and helicopters are operated by the 31st Wing based in Rome Ciampino Airport.
Japan maintains two Boeing 747-400 aircraft mostly for the Prime Minister, the Emperor, Empress and other members of the Imperial Family, operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The planes are officially called seifu-senyō-ki (政府専用機, literally "Government Exclusive Aircraft") in Japanese and Japanese Air Force One/Two in English. They have been used to transport Japanese peace-keeping troops to Iraq in the past, and are also designed to take Japanese nationals and refugees home from foreign land in serious political turmoil, chaos after natural disasters, etc.
The aircraft were constructed at the Boeing factory at the same time as the U.S. Air Force One VC-25s, though the U.S. aircraft were built to the 747-200 design, while the Japanese aircraft were built to the more contemporary 747-400 design. Both Japanese aircraft were delivered in 1990.
- 1 x Yak-40
- 2 x Tupolev Tu-134
- 1 x Boeing 737-700 BBJ
- 1 x Airbus A320
- 1 x Tupolev Tu-154
- 1 x Boeing 757
- 2 x Airbus A330
Fokker executive plane was purchased at a cost of $50 million. The 70-seater jet was reconfigured into a 28-seater, with three suites, bathroom and kitchen. It is equipped with the latest telecommunication facilities.
Prior to the purchase of the Fokker, the Kenyan President primarily used Kenya Airways for his international travel.
The North Korean Government has access to all of the Air Koryo fleet for official services. Although two of the Air Koryo Ilyushin Il-62M aircraft are designated VIP transport aircraft. These aircraft operate in basic Air Koryo livery but do not have any Air Koryo titles applied on the fuselage or under their wings. An Air Koryo Tupolev Tu-154 is also sometimes used for government travel.
Until April 2013, the Emir of Kuwait used a Boeing 747; since then he has used an Airbus A340-500 equipped with military defense equipment to protect the plane from any potential attacks. It is also used by the Crown Prince of Kuwait. Another identical Airbus A340-500 is being fitted. A Boeing 747-8 is on order and to be used by the Emir in future.
The rest of the official state aircraft used by senior ruling family members and cabinet members:
- 1 x Airbus A300
- 1 x Airbus A310 carry the Emir's security, which flies 48 hours before the Emir's departure
- 1 x Airbus A319 used by the Government
- 1 x Airbus A320-200 used by the Government
- 2 x Airbus A340-500 used by the Emir of Kuwait, the Crown Prince and the Prime Minister.
- 1 x Boeing 747-8 On order and to be used by the Emir of Kuwait
- 1 x Gulfstream G550 used by the Government
- 4 x Gulfstream V used by the Government
For his local and regional trips, the Lebanese president uses a Lebanese Air Force VIP variant of AgustaWestland AW139 code named "Cedar 1", the helicopter was a gift from the Emir of Qatar HH Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The Lebanese president uses Middle East Airlines (MEA) jets for his international trips. MEA aircraft use "Cedar jet 001" as a special call sign when they are transporting the president.
A private Cessna 550 Citation II or Learjet 35A are sometimes used for governmental flights.
Malawi's President Peter Mutharika travels abroad on a Dassault Falcon 900EX.
Malaysia's Prime Minister and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong travel in a Boeing Business Jet operated by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The callsign of the plane is Perdana One (for the Prime Minister) or DiRaja One (if the King is aboard). The BBJ was purchased in 2003 from Malaysia Airlines. The Chief Minister of Sarawak uses a Cessna Citation, which is operated by Hornbill Skyways, a State owned charter Company. Recently,[when?] they[who?] started to fly an Airbus A319 with callsign M1.
As of 31 August 2011, the air fleet of the President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto has a total of 18 aircraft which are described below:
- 1 x Boeing 757-200
- 2 x Boeing 737-300
- 2 x Gulfstream III
- 2 x Learjet 35A
- 1 x Rockwell Turbo Commander 695A
- 1 x Gulfstream G40 (operated by the Mexican Navy)
- 2 x Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma
- 5 x Aerospatiale AS332 Super Puma
- 2 x Aerospatiale SA330 Puma
In 2012 the Mexican government announced the acquisition through a 15-year lease a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The new presidential aircraft will incorporate a modern security system. Is expected to be delivered in 2015.
The Mongolian President and Prime Minister with other Parliament members use an Boeing 767-300ER or Boeing 737-800 for short to medium range from Government owned by MIAT Mongolian Airlines. In domestic routes head of Mongolia and other government officials use Saab 340B or Fokker 50 chartered from Eznis Airways and Aero Mongolia. Currently Mongolian Government is in talks with Cessna to purchase Cessna Citation jets. The number is unknown.
The Netherlands government operates a Fokker 70 as a means of transport for the Dutch Royal family and government officials, such as the prime minister and other ministers. It is used to attend international conferences, but also for private trips by the King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima. The registration is PH-KBX; PH for the Netherlands and KBX for 'Koningin BeatriX' or Queen Beatrix. The previous aircraft, a Fokker F28, was registered PH-PBX, with PBX for 'Princess BeatriX'. The aircraft is maintained by KLM Cityhopper.
For long haul trips the Royal Dutch Airline (KLM) is used. Often the upper deck of a Boeing 747 is used. Sometimes the Fokker 70 is sent ahead and the long stretch the KLM is used and for the final trip the Fokker. King Willem-Alexander has a Fokker 70/100 type rating and is often seen as pilot on these trips. To keep his licence current he sometimes flies with KLM Cityhopper on scheduled flights.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force maintains two Boeing 757-200s which are occasionally used to transport the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, various other government officials, as well as the Head of State and members of the Royal Family when on New Zealand business. As multi-role aircraft, they are more often used as transport aircraft for troops or freight. Generally, the Prime Minister and government officials use commercial or chartered flights (with Air New Zealand where available) to travel both domestically and internationally.
The Nigerian Air Force currently maintains a Boeing Business Jet (737) as a means of transport for the President of Nigeria. The plane is also known as "Eagle One" and is marked NAF-001. The national colors of the Nigerian Flag (Green, White, Green), are painted in long horizontal stripes along the base of the white fuselage, the words "NIGERIAN AIR FORCE" are tagged on the top, and the Seal of the President of Nigeria is embossed on the tail. In addition, there is a Gulfstream V-SP, a Gulfstream 550, two Falcon 7Xs, a Do228-200, and 3 A139 choppers. The Falcon 900s (two), a GIV-SP, and G II were all sold. A Citation Bravo and Hawker 800 were returned to the Air Force. Nigeria happens to be one of few countries of the world with a large PAF.
The air transport of the King and Prime Minister of Norway is mostly handled by commercial airliners with the VIPs travelling as normal passengers. However, the Norwegian government will charter small private jets for government ministers when needed. The Royal Norwegian Air Force 717 Squadron at Rygge Air Station also maintain one Dassault Falcon 20 (5–9 passengers) for VIP-transport of the royal family, ministers and armed forces senior staff.
Pakistan Government Transport, the government carrier, currently operates an Airbus A310 and one new Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV Gulfstream IV-SP to transport government officials for the President and Prime Minister's use. The plane is commonly called "PAK ONE", the callsign under which it operates. The government also used Boeing 747 in the past from Pakistan International Airlines, the national flag carrier.
Before it came into service, Boeing 707s had served as the primary presidential aircraft. President Muhammad Zia-ul-haq used a Locakheed C-130B Hercules for his trips. Previous Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto used a Boeing 737 for their official trips. The airliner was maintained by Pakistan Government Transport. The Pakistan Air Force plans to purchase a Gulfstream V for transportation of high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries. These aircraft are based at Chaklala Airbase near the capital city of Islamabad.
PIA always transports the presidents and Prime Ministers of Pakistan on overseas visits. During the late 1990s, Prime Minister Sharif's government bought a Boeing 737-300 for official use. Initially it wore a government colour scheme, and eventually a partial PIA 1990s livery was adopted as the aircraft was given to PIA for commercial use while it was not on official duty.
However, when the government changed after a military coup in 1999, the Boeing B737 was transferred to PIA permanently. The President and Prime Minister then resorted to using two of PIA's Airbus A310-300 for official visits, while rare trips were done on regular commercial flights of the airline. In February 2007 the government of Qatar gifted one of their VIP fleet A310 to the Pakistani government, this has ended the need for PIA planes.
A new executive jet was acquired for use by former President Pervez Musharraf, raising the number of aircraft in the VVIP fleet to 14. The 10-seater Learjet is one of the three planes whose procurement was approved by former prime minister Shaukat Aziz.
The country's VVIP fleet includes Gulfstream IV, Cessna Citation V, Cessna Citation Excel, Learjet 35, Learjet 45 XR, Raytheon Hawker 400, Falcon 20, Cessna Conquest II, Bell 412 helicopters (3) Mi-17 helicopter Airbus A310-300 and now the new LearJet.
Two other jets ordered may land in Pakistan after the elections. These jets are for personal use of president and prime minister.
The value of the new luxury jet was about $60 million, as reported by Dawn on 30 November 2007.
The official aircraft of the President of Peru is a Boeing 737-500 acquired in 1995 during Alberto Fujimori's presidency and has been controversial since, mainly due to the scandals that occurred with it during Alejandro Toledo's administration. During Fujimori's late government, in 1996, cocaine was found in the aircraft.
The aircraft sports the Marca Perú's logo on the vertical fin, a white fuselage with a black underbelly with red pinstripes, and the words "República del Perú" adorning the sides, with the Coat of Arms of Peru displayed on the side. It carries a crew of six, the President of the Republic of Peru and thirty passengers.
The 250th (Presidential) Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force is used to transport the President of the Philippines and the First Family. On occasion, the wing has also been tasked to provide transportation for other members of government, visiting heads of state, and other state guests.
The fleet includes: 1 Fokker F28, which is primarily used for the President's domestic trips and it is also called "Kalayaan ("Freedom") One" when the President is on board, 1 Fokker F-27 aircraft, 4 Bell 412 helicopters, 3 Sikorsky S-76 helicopters, and 1 Sikorsky S-70A-5 Black Hawk. For trips outside of the Philippines, the President uses a Bombardier Learjet 60 or charters appropriate aircraft from Philippine Airlines.
Prior to 1962, the Air Force chartered aircraft from Pan American World Airways as the international services of Philippine Airlines were suspended. For short-haul flights, Boeing 737s were initially used and have since been replaced by the Airbus A320. For medium- to long-haul flights, Boeing 747-400s were initially used; their roles are now being fulfilled by the Airbus A340-300. If A340-300 is not available, the Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777-300ER are also used for medium- to long- haul flights. The aircraft with the callsign PR 001 is a special plane operated by Philippine Airlines to transport the President of the Philippines.
During World War II the presidential aircraft was a Mitsubishi MC-20.
The Polish Air Force operated two modified Tupolev Tu-154Ms, additionally a number of Yakovlev Yak-40 and PZL M28 Bryza fixed-wing aircraft, Mil Mi-8, PZL W-3 Sokół and Bell 412 helicopters were used for domestic transportation. Tu-154 tail number 101, carrying the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, was destroyed during 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash on 10 April 2010. On 4 December 2003, a Polish Air Force Mi-8 carrying the Polish prime minister crashed in a forest near Warsaw. Even though the helicopter was lost, all 15 people on board survived. The remaining Tu-154M, No. 102, was retired along with all Air Force Yak-40s in 2011, while 36th Regiment was disbanded. 1st Air Base in Warsaw still operates VIP helicopters.
Since May 2010 The Government of Poland used two Embraer ERJ-175LR (ERJ-170-200LR) leased from LOT Polish Airlines to carry out official/state flights.
The Portuguese Air Force operates three Dassault Falcon 50 built in 1990 for use by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, as well as cabinet members and other dignitaries when appropriate. They are operated by the 504 Squadron "Lynxes", based at the Lisbon Military Airfield (AT1).
Additionally, for similar use, the Portuguese Air Force maintained three Dassault Falcon 20 built in 1984, bought from FedEx as cargo aircraft and converted to VIP configuration maintaining the outsized cargo door. These aircraft are no longer operational, the last one being used as an Aeronautical Navigation Calibration aircraft. One of them is on display at the Air Museum (Museu do Ar), located in the area of the Sintra Air Base (BA1).
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
Romania operated one Boeing 707 for the Romanian President and one BAC 1-11 is used mostly for the Prime-Minister. Also a SA-365 Dauphin was used for internal transport. The operator of these flights was the Ministry of National Defense, the owner of Romavia.
Russia State Transport Company operates two Ilyushin Il-96-300PU for use of the President of Russia. At least one of the aircraft was refitted as a VIP transport in 2001 by a British company for a price of GBP 10 million. The aircraft has the word "Россия" displayed in large Cyrillic letters across the upper side. As pictures leaked to the Internet in 2007 indicate, the luxurious refit included gold-plated bathroom fittings, marble floors, silk-lined walls and other expensive amenities. The aircraft is reported to have an escape capsule, much like the one featured in the film "Air Force One".
|Airbus A319-115X CJ||0||unknown||0|
|Dassault Falcon 7X||1||unknown||0|
The Avio Service of Serbia is responsible for transporting the Serbian President, the Prime Minister and other Serbian government officials. It operates a Dassault Falcon 50 and a Learjet 31A. The Ministry of the interior uses a Sikorsky S-76. The government sometimes also uses Yakovlev Yak-40 aircraft of the Serbian Air Force.
However, on rare occasions or short trips, government officials may travel on one of the few passenger-configured Fokker-50 operated by the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
The Slovak Government Flying Service operates two Tupolev Tu-154s, two Yakovlev Yak-40s and number of helicopters for use by the President of Slovakia, Prime Minister of Slovakia and government officials. The Prime minister has also on several occasions used commercial flights to show he is saving public funds. At the same time aircraft of the Slovak Government Flying Service have flown without passengers for training of pilots.
The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) operate Dassault Falcon 2000 EX for VIP transport, primarily of the President, Prime Minister, and members of the Government.
The President of South Africa travels in a Boeing 737 (BBJ) operated by the South African Air Force's 21 Squadron, which is based at AFB Waterkloof near Pretoria; the executive capital, i.e. the seat of the executive branch of the South African government.
21 Squadron also operates a fleet of two Falcon 50 and a Falcon 900B Fleet, 550/1 Citation II, and a Global Express XRS is hired to escort the President on long flights as a back-up aircraft. The Falcon 900 is normally used by the Deputy President and high-ranking cabinet ministers.
As of April 2010, the president of the Republic of Korea uses 2 CASA CN-235s, a Boeing 737-300 aircraft and a Boeing 747-400, leased from Korean Air for next 5 years. The livery consists of a largely white body with a colored cheatline. The first portion of the line is red while the rest of the line is blue. A similar blue and red design is on the tail. The country's name is written in both Korean and English on the side and the flag is on the tail and behind the door. The plane's registration is 85101. The Sikorsky S-92 is the presidential helicopter.
The Spanish Air Force (Spanish: Ejército del Aire) operates 2 customized Airbus A310, 5 Falcon 900, and several helicopters for transportation of the King, the President of the Government, high-ranking government officials and the Spanish Royal Family. These transportation services are provided by the 45th Group of the Air Force, based in Torrejón Air Base, 24 kilometers (15 mi) away from Madrid. A new unit, an Airbus 330, is pending approval by the Council of Ministers of Spain. This will be the new official plane of the King and the President of the Government of Spain.
The Sri Lankan President uses a specially reserved Airbus A330-200 for short-haul international flights and an Airbus A340-300 for long-haul international flights, domestic travel for senior government officials and VIPs are provided by the No. 4 (VIP) Helicopter Squadron of the Sri Lanka Air Force using 7 Bell 412EPs. For international travel, either scheduled commercial flights of Sri Lankan Airlines (mostly the Airbus A330-200), or an Airbus A321-200 Mihin Lanka is used. Occasionally, the government also charters aircraft from these two companies for international travel.
An Airbus A340-311 is chartered from Surinam Airways and has been used for international and long haul flights. For regional flights in the Caribbean, North-, Central-, and South America a Boeing 737-300 is also chartered from Surinam Airways. For domestic flights, a helicopter is chartered from Hi-Jet Helicopter Services.
The Swedish Air Force Transport Squadron Bromma (Stockholm), based on Stockholm-Bromma Airport in the City of Stockholm, operates the State Flight (Swedish: Statsflyget). It forms part of the Transport and Special Flying Unit (TSFE, Swedish: Transport och Specialflygenheten), which in its turn is a part of the Skaraborg Wing (F 7). Currently it operates two Gulfstream IV aircraft and one Gulfstream G550 in the VIP transport role:
The Air Force also operates three Saab 340 in the VIP transport role.
The use of the State Flight is regulated in the State Flight Ordinance (Swedish: Statsflygsförordningen) issued by the Government of Sweden. All aircraft serve the official transport needs of His Majesty The King and other members of the Swedish Royal Family, the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers, and senior Swedish Armed Forces officers.
The 6th Air Transport Squadron (Lufttransportstaffel 6[dead link]) also operates two Eurocopter EC635 as VIP transport helicopters and has a number of Super Puma helicopters at its disposal, one of which is configured constantly as a VIP transport for domestic use and another one can be configured for VIP transport.
Air transportation for the President or other high-ranking officials of Taiwan is operated by the Republic of China Air Force using a customized Boeing 737-800 delivered from Boeing in 2001. This aircraft operates out of Taipei's Songshan Airport and is not usually permitted to fly to countries without diplomatic relations with the ROC. Instead, a Boeing 747 operated by Taiwan's national airline, China Airlines, is used for long-haul trips by the President and his staff. In addition, another three Fokker 50 turboprop perform the executive jet role for the Vice President of the Republic, premier, and other senior officials.
The Royal Thai Air Force's 402 Royal Guard Squadron, a helicopter unit, uses Bell 412STs for Royal flights. The helicopters are expected to be replaced, as they are approaching the lifetime limit for VIP duty. The replacement for these helicopters are Sikorsky S-92 Superhawk.
Although available upon their request, members of the royal family usually fly on commercial flights operated by the national carrier, Thai Airways International, when traveling outside of the kingdom.
The Thai government operates one Airbus A340-500, one Airbus A319CJ, and two Embraer ERJ-135LR's as government transports. The A340-500, and the A319CJ are maintained by Thai Airways International, the Embraer ERJ-135LRs are maintained by Royal Thai Army.
The government of Tunisia operates a Boeing 737 BBJ. An Airbus A340-500 has also been purchased and VIP configured, but was never used for official travel and has been stored since the 2011 revolution that ousted former dictator Ben Ali. The Tunisian government is reportedly trying to sell both aircraft.
No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron of the Royal Air Force maintains a fleet of Agusta A109 helicopters, BAE-125 mid-sized business jets and BAE-146 regional airliners to support travel by the Royal Family, the Prime Minister and senior members of the British Government. Additionally, chartering airliners (typically British Airways or Virgin Atlantic) and use of scheduled commercial services is commonly practiced owing to the lack of passenger capacity and a lack of transcontinental capability in the RAF's VIP aircraft fleet.
On visits to Commonwealth realms, which share the same monarch as the United Kingdom, reciprocal VIP aircraft of those countries are often used when transporting members of the Royal Family.
Air travel arrangements for the President are made by the White House Military Office and typically one of two customized Boeing 747-200B jetliners are used. These aircraft carry the military designation VC-25A.
The Vice President of the United States, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and other high-ranking officials typically use customized Boeing 757-200 and Boeing 737 aircraft which carry the military designation C-32A and C-40B.
The callsign of any plane is regular if it is not currently carrying the President or Vice-President. The callsign of any military aircraft that currently carries the President is called that military branch name followed by "One", such as Army One, Air Force One, Navy One, or Marine One (which is typically associated with a helicopter). The callsign of any military aircraft that currently carries the Vice President is called that military branch name followed by "Two", such as Air Force Two, Coast Guard Two, or Marine Two (which is typically associated with a helicopter). In the one instance that the President traveled on a private aircraft its callsign was Executive One, and Vice President Rockefeller's private Gulfstream was Executive Two when he was aboard during his term of office.
In addition, the US military maintains a fleet of C-40s (Boeing 737-700), C-37As (Gulfstream V) and C-37Bs (Gulfstream G550) for use by government officials, Members of Congress and the White House.
Typically, the Pope flies on a chartered Alitalia fixed-wing aircraft when travelling to or from more distant destinations.[specify] The tradition is for the Pope to fly to the country he is visiting on a chartered Alitalia jet and to return on a jet belonging to a flag carrier from the visited nation. But when touring multiple nations this could turn odd. For example, when Pope John Paul II visited South America in May 1988, he came to Paraguay from Peru in an AeroPerú DC-8, but left Asunción International Airport back to Europe in a transcontinental Alitalia Boeing 747, which was brought in just hours before his farewell ceremony. Líneas Aéreas Paraguayas' longest-range aircraft at the time were Boeing 707-320Bs, which had to stop in Dakar to refuel. However, he politely traveled within the country in a LAP jet, which incidentally carried the distinguished visitor's coat of arms in the forward fuselage as courtesy. Inspired by both a biblical verse and the name of the aircraft used by the President of the United States, the Americans nicknamed the Pope's aircraft "Shepherd One" after Pope Benedict XVI's visit to New York and Washington in 2008. The call sign of a papal flight within Italy is "volo papale" ("papal flight" in Italian) followed by the number of flights the pope has made. Pope John Paul II made 104 papal flights. Pope Benedict XVI returned to Rome from Brazil on Alitalia. The pope also uses a helicopter of the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare), a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King, for small distances. There are two papal heliports, one on the west corner of Vatican City and another on the southern edge of the extraterritorial papal residence of Castel Gandolfo.
A Boeing 777-200ER chartered from Vietnam Airlines is often used for international and long haul flights. For domestic and short haul flights, an Airbus A321 is chartered from Vietnam Airlines.
Former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito used many aircraft during his term as president. The most notable aircraft types in service were the Douglas DC-6, Ilyushin Il-18, Sud Aviation Caravelle and Boeing 727.
Perhaps one of the most controversial air transports for a head of state was that of Zaire leader Mobutu Sese Seko, who leased a supersonic Concorde in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The jet, obtained from Air France, was based at Gbadolite and was not only used for diplomatic missions but also for European shopping trips for the ruler's wealthy family. There was also a Boeing 707 that was used for a while and has been stored in Lisbon since 1996 until September 2006 when it was scrapped, as well as a Boeing 727.
First Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda used to use a Douglas DC-8 of the now liquidated Zambia Airways among other national carriers. His departure from office saw the new president, Frederick Chiluba acquire a more modern look for government and thus the Challenger CL604 was acquired.
The President of Zimbabwe travels in a chartered Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767-200ER aircraft, which is part of the national airline's fleet. Occasionally, the president will share the plane with commercial passengers on scheduled flights. The president's own British Aerospace 146–200 Series aircraft ordered in the 1980s by the Zimbabwe Government's Ministry of Defence as a VIP aircraft for the President's use was leased to the national airline upon delivery after Air Zimbabwe's need for an aircraft that could land on the country's short local runways had become dire. The aircraft was leased to the airline under an arrangement that provided for Air Zimbabwe to maintain it and fly it as required, and the President to have the use of it when needed. After the British Aerospace 146–200 was retired, the National Airliner continued their role as a state VIP transporter, using the B767-300ER.
- Air International René Francillon Nov. 1999 "Fit for a King: Wings for Sovereigns, Presidents and Prime Ministers" pp. 289-290
- Hardesty 2003, p. 38.
- "Factsheet: Douglas VC-54C SACRED COW." National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved: 19 October 2009.
- Dorr 2002, p. l34.
- Is affected (according to the protocol) at the exclusive service to the Presidency of the Nation. The plane is part of the Air Force Argentina.
- "Composante Air Unités 15 Wing Transport Aérien Matériel". Mil.be. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Canadian Air Forces CC-150 Polaris information[dead link]
- Canadian Air Forces. CC-144 Challenger information[dead link]
- "Bachelet recorre modelo del futuro avión presidencial en Fidae 2008". Emol.com. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "Xi's Plane Revealed to be Commercial Aircraft". CRI English. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "Das ist der neue Airbus für die Kanzlerin". Hamburger Morgenpost. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- Aircraft 4L-GAF Profile
- Pope, Stephen, Aviation International News Olympic Airways Falcon 900 fatal blamed on pilot error[dead link][dead link]
- "Air India One, Seat No 59G". 26 September 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- PM’s Air-India One
- India gets new VVIP business jets with special suites – The Hindu
- "VIVAnews – Sudi: DPR yang Usul Presiden Beli Pesawat". Nasional.vivanews.com. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "Berapa Harga Pesawat Kepresidenan RI, Boeing Business Jet II?". 5 July 2013.
- "Pesawat Kepresidenan Indonesia Tiba di Bandara Halim Perdanakusuma". 10 April 2014.
- Air Corps
- Hardesty, 2005
- "Desde Fujimori a Humala: los escבndalos del aviףn presidencial | RPP NOTICIAS". Rpp.com.pe. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- (Polish) 36. pułk specjalny został zlikwidowany, onet.pl
- "Vladimir Putin's Airforce Oneski". Daily Mail (UK). 5 February 2007.[dead link]
- [dead link]
- Rossiya Russian Airlines (ATDB)
- "Tour of Spanish Air Force A310". Philippine Flight Network (PH). 3 April 2014.
- (Swedish)Flygplan TP 102[dead link], Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved on 12 May 2013.
- (Swedish) Statsflyget, Government of Sweden. Retrieved on 12 May 2013.
- Sopranos, Katherine (March 2006). "A special fleet: The Air Force's 89th Airlift Wing uses Boeing airplanes to fly some important people. Here's a look inside some of these high-profile aircraft". Boeing Frontiers. Boeing. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "Factsheets C-40B/C". 29 December 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- ALLEN, JOHN L. (8 May 2007). "Background on Brazil: Inside the papal plane". National Catholic Reporter. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011.
- Willey, David (15 April 2008). "Pope's US tour: Reporter's diary". BBC News.
- MH, SRJ (6 December 2005). ""Vliegende paus" heeft nu eigen luchthaven". Paus Benedictus XVI weblog.[dead link]
- Yemen government fleet list at planespotters.net
- Von Hardesty. Air Force One: The Aircraft that Shaped the Modern Presidency. Creative Publishing international; illustrated edition (1 September 2005) . ISBN 978-1-58923-233-4.
Media related to Aircraft of heads of state and government at Wikimedia Commons