Liz Truss flew on a private plane to Australia at a cost of £500,000 to taxpayers

[ad_1]

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss flew a private plane to Australia at a cost of over half a million pounds to taxpayers because she chose not to use regular business class flights.

Instead of traveling from London to Sydney on one of Qantas’ daily departures, Ms Truss insisted on flying the 22,000 miles to, from and within Australia on the private government’s Airbus A321.

The aircraft type seats 235 passengers on easyJet flights, but the government version is equipped with a VIP interior, including reclining beds.

The mission to Australia and back this week burned about 150 tons of fuel and generated nearly 500 tons of CO2.

The Ministerial Code makes it clear that only the Foreign Secretary could authorize such a flight.

Scheduled flights were available for the same itinerary, but the private flight is understood to have been chosen for “security considerations” amid fears other passengers could overhear the conversations.

A prominent environmental activist described the foreign secretary’s choice as “an outrageous source of emissions in the current climate emergency.”

Ms Truss began her journey at noon on January 18 with a flight from London Stansted to Dubai. It took off two hours after Qantas’ regular departure from Heathrow, which went non-stop to Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory and continued on to Sydney.

After a 90-minute refueling stop in the United Arab Emirates, the foreign secretary’s plane flew overnight to Kuala Lumpur, where it took on more fuel.

Flight XT645, as coded, landed in Sydney shortly after midnight on January 20, five hours after Qantas’ scheduled flight from London.

See also  School run mum admits using Range Rover to try and move Insulate Britain protester

The plane was grounded in Sydney for two days while the foreign secretary met with Australian government officials, before flying to Adelaide, where Truss gave a speech.

His private flight on January 22 followed a Qantas domestic service, QF733, which departed on the exact same route just 17 minutes earlier.

Data recorded by Flightradar24 shows that the Foreign Secretary’s Airbus left Adelaide at 10:50 pm on the same day. He refueled in both Kuala Lumpur and Dubai before returning to Stansted Airport at 1:20 pm on 23 January.

The commercial alternative was a domestic flight the same night from Adelaide to Darwin, connecting with Qantas non-stop to Heathrow, arriving nine hours before the government plane.

A high-level charter industry source said the independent that the cost of operating Ms Truss’ ride would have been “at least £500k”.

The most expensive business class ticket for the foreign secretary’s entire itinerary at Qantas, which offers reclining beds on board the Boeing 787, would have been £7,712.

The Foreign Office has not disclosed how many officials were on board, but the Ministerial Code says delegations must be kept “as small as reasonably possible”. At least two flight crew teams were required for the trip.

Anna Hughes, director of environmental charity Flight Free UK, said: “Liz Truss has consistently shown her lack of understanding of the steps we all need to take to tackle the climate crisis, and this is no exception.

“Flying to Australia and back on a charter plane is surprisingly privileged and an outrageous source of emissions in the current climate emergency.”

See also  Zika warning as scientists discover simple mutation that could trigger new outbreak

Ms Truss landed back in Stansted the day before Cop26 chairman Alok Sharma told a Chatham House event that world leaders must “keep promises” on climate change.

The cabinet minister said: “Unless we deliver on the promises made, to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action, they will wither on the vine.”

Sharma described the Cop26 deal as “a hands-on demonstration of Global Britain in action”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “There is a need for the Foreign Secretary to travel abroad to pursue UK interests around security, trade and technology, as she did during this visit to Australia.

“This trip used government transport and was completely within the rules set out in the Ministerial Code.”

The aircraft used by the foreign secretary is an 18-month-old Airbus A321neo operated for the government by Stansted-based airline Titan Airways.

It was delivered new from the Airbus factory in Hamburg on October 26, 2020.

[ad_2]
www.independent.co.uk

Related Posts

George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.