» Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Asked what sort of plane the Prime Minister was getting, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) replied that the Written Statement, which we had answered today, made it clear that whereas previously the recommendation had been that there would be two planes available (one small plane and one large plane for the Royal Family and Ministers), having done a detailed business case the Government had now decided not to go ahead with the larger plane. Therefore there would be a smaller plane, which would mainly be used by the Royal Family, and the Royal Household would be responsible for procuring that. The Prime Minister would continue to travel on chartered or scheduled flights.

Asked if the Government had a preference over which sort of plane it would be, the PMS replied that the procurement decision was a matter for the Royal Household.

Asked if the Prime Minister would be able to use the plane on internal flights, the PMS said that Ministers would be able to have use of the smaller plane but that it would be mainly used by the Royal Household.

Asked if the plane was for UK flights only, the PMS said it would be predominantly for UK flights.

Asked if the Royal Family would have to charter aircraft for longer journeys, the PMS replied that it would be for the Royal Family to decide how best to organise their own arrangements.

Asked if the Prime Minister would use the plane at all, the PMS replied that in the UK the Prime Minister tried to travel by train when he could, and if not by car.

Asked if the Royal Family would pay for the plane, the PMS said that it was best to check with the Department for Transport. In response to this a journalist said that he had already checked with Transport and that it would come out of their budget.

Asked if that meant that any overseas flights would be chartered, the PMS replied that that would be the case for the Prime Minister.

Asked what the case would be for the Royal Family, the PMS said that he was not sure of the exact arrangements for the Royal Family but that the intention was that the larger plane would have been predominantly used by the Prime Minister.

Asked if this decision had been made after cost analysis, the PMS replied that the Department of Transport had looked in detail at the business case and had reached this conclusion.

Put that the previous Prime Minister had been keen on the idea of having a larger plane and that the current Prime Minister had given the go ahead for it when he had been Chancellor, the PMS said that we had been happy with the original recommendations from Sir Peter Gershon but that that had always been subject to a detailed assessment of the business case, which had now been conducted.

Asked if it would stay as a British Airways charter, the PMS said that planes got chartered on a case-by-case basis.

Asked if it would still be possible to take journalists on Prime Ministerial visits, the PMS replied that, as always, we would be very mindful of the demands and needs of the Lobby.

Asked if the Royal Family was happy with the outcome, the PMS said that the Royal Household had been consulted.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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