It seems that Iain Dale is getting in on the who’s flying what where angle, even if his efforts, like those of his oppo, Shane Greer, are actually pretty risible:
Journalists were quick to point out that instead of flying on a British Airways jet decorated with the Union Flag, the Prime Minister hired a charter jet, decorated with stars more akin to the European flag than anything British. But they didn’t notice the return of the now infamous orange circle. First spotted on the Prime Minister’s face, it’s now reappeared on his aeroplane. Has the Labour Party changed its logo again without telling anybody?
To go with his non-story, Iain includes two photos, one of Gordon with his ‘orange circle’…
And the other of the plane that was chartered to fly Gordon to the US (ho hum)…
If Iain could ever be arsed to research anything further than the contents of CCHQ press releases – about 2 minutes further, which is what it took me to track this down – then he’d have found out that the plane in question is a Boeing 737 300 QC, chartered from Titan Airways – and here’s a nice gallery of images showing the plane in all its glory.
It’s actually a 757 not a 737 300 QC (my mistake), which means a slightly reduced capacity (96-100 in the business class only models) but greater fuel efficiency, so slightly cheaper to charter.
And here’s the 757 gallery to drool over – photos of Tom in his anorak (see comments) will have to wait for another day.
Dig a bit further and he might also have discovered that the cost of this charter – without any subsidy from Lord Ashcroft – is likely to have been in the region of £200 K but, crucially, the jet in question can carry up to 130 passengers to accommodate Gordon’s entourage, which is likely to have been fairly large as when the PM goes to Washington then any number of other government officials will go with him for talks with various government departments in the US.
How big an entourage? Who knows, but with a First Class return flight to Washington by BA coming in at ‘from £3734’, it would take anything from 55 passengers upwards on the trip for it come in cheaper than BA, maybe less if the government got a decent discount price on the cost of the charter.
And its those kinds of questions that are actually worth asking when the government charters a flight – how much and how does the cost compare with scheduled flights.
Fuck me, if Iain’s shots at Brown get any cheaper he’ll have to start paying people to read his blog…