The UK Government has been criticised after revealing that the cost of repainting the Prime Minister’s plane in union jack colours will be over £900,000.
The plane, which was commissioned by David Cameron for £10m, is undergoing a red white and blue paint job at a hangar run by Marshall Aerospace near Cambridge.
A Downing Street spokesman said the plane needed repainting so that it “can better represent the UK around the world with national branding similar to many other planes, while also retaining its military refuelling capability.”
He explained that it would “promote the UK around the world without compromising the plane’s vital military role”.
“At every stage we work to ensure value for money for the UK, and all of the work has been undertaken in the UK directly benefiting British suppliers,” the spokesman said.
The makeover, which SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP described as a “vanity project” during Prime Minister’s Questions today, comes two years after Mr Johnson complained about the aircraft’s current grey colour.
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts said it was an example of “[Dominic] Cummings [the Prime Minister’s top advisor] trying to paint over the public mood again”.
At the time it was commissioned, it was intended for civilian and military use as the cost of the aircraft sparked public outrage, however the development that it will be upgraded with “national branding” has drawn suggestion that it will be reserved for official travel.
One commentator and former RAF pilot described the plan as “project creep” and said: “It’s starting to look – operationally and politically – much more like Air Force One for Boris.”