Air Tanker – For Hire

Air Tanker are progressing bringing the RAF’s Voyagers into service and as can be sen from the images below have also offloaded fuel to French Rafale and US Navy F18’s

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Air Tanker RAF Voyager and French Rafale
Air Tanker RAF Voyager and French Rafale
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Air Tanker RAF Voyager and US Navy F18
Air Tanker RAF Voyager and US Navy F18
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This is on top of continuing work with Tornado, Typhoon, Hercules and A400M and delivering in the air transport role.

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RAF Voyager Tanker Aircraft Refuelling Tornado GR4

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Air Tanker RAF Voyager and RAF Typhoon
Air Tanker RAF Voyager and RAF Typhoon
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RAF Voyager and C130 Hercules
RAF Voyager and C130 Hercules
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RAF Voyager and A400M Atlas
RAF Voyager and A400M Atlas
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RAF Voyager Lower Deck
RAF Voyager Lower Deck
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RAF Voyager Passenger Deck
RAF Voyager Passenger Deck
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The next stage is to recover costs and reduce overall cost to the by MoD by leasing unused, or surge, capacity to the civilian charter market.

From a recent Press Release

“It’s a blank piece of paper”, says Tony Carder, AirTanker Services’ new Director of Leasing, “we’re completely open minded about what shape the business takes, we can be as flexible as the market requires, short term, long term agreements, lease, sub service or charter, single class or multiple class configurations. We may not be unique in our capacity to deliver it but at present, it’s a unique proposition, with brand new aircraft and a product tailored to meet the customer’s requirements”.

As we discussed earlier in the year, the first of these lease customers is Thomas Cook, this quote from the Air Tanker press release;

AirTanker, the company behind the RAF Voyager (UK Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft) programme has agreed in principle a ground-breaking A330 civil leasing deal with Thomas Cook Airlines.

Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Thomas Cook Airlines will lease a single Airbus A330-200 from the AirTanker/FSTA ‘surge fleet”, to support long haul routes as part of its UK flying programme.

Flying under the new Thomas Cook Airlines livery, the aircraft will be operated by AirTanker under its civil Air Operator’s Certificate from May 2015 in support of scheduled routes from Glasgow, Manchester and Stansted to Las Vegas, Cancun and Orlando

This described how a single Voyager would be leased to Thomas Cook Airlines.

The latest press release seems to indicate a greater demand from Thomas Cook

Under the terms of the ground-breaking three-year deal, the first of these aircraft will be leased in a civil A330 set-up from May next year to Thomas Cook Airlines.

Delivered directly to AirTanker from Airbus, military equipment will be removed by AirTanker and the cabin will be reconfigured to a Thomas Cook Airlines 323 seat premium economy & economy class layout. The aircraft will be operated by AirTanker under its civil Air Operator’s Certificate, in support of scheduled routes from Glasgow, Manchester and Stansted to Las Vegas, Cancun and Orlando.

I have often wondered where the risk lies in this arrangement, what happens if the forecast leasing revenue does not materialise, does the MoD have to fill in the funding gap, or is it Air Tanker’s risk?

Anyway, off to Cancun, just remember that some hairy arse Sapper, Gunner, Craftsman, Rifleman or god forbid, a Cavalry or Royal Navy Officer may well have sat in your seat.

RAF Voyager and Thomas Cook Airlines
RAF Voyager and Thomas Cook Airlines

 

 

 

 

12 Comments
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Topman
Topman
November 30, 2014 4:59 pm

@TD

‘ or is it Air Tanker’s risk?’

There’s as far as I know. If they want to earn money on the side and they meet their side of the contract that’s fine. As has been commented on, we paid for availabilty. On normal trooping runs if they lease another a/c in because their a/c are taking families to Disney world, then it comes out of their end.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 30, 2014 6:30 pm

I’m uncertain as to whether I would rather less be flown by Kevins or Thomas Cook. Either way it’s a ghastly bunch of chavs.

TD, typo alert. God gets a big G, gunners get small gs.

Topman
Topman
November 30, 2014 6:51 pm

@ RT

We ghastly bunch of chavs aim to please, but you can always walk tha’knows ;)

John Hartley
John Hartley
November 30, 2014 7:44 pm

So the taxpayer paid top dollar to have the military equipment fitted & doubtless again to have it removed. Then of course, we will have to pay again to get it back into RAF service. What is the motto of Airtanker? Is it Kerching?

Dave haine
Dave haine
November 30, 2014 8:20 pm

As someone who has dealt with both civvie and military air passengers- I can say with absolute certainty- It’s no wonder traffic staff, and their military equivalents, develop a certain cynicism and antipathy….

I can tell a range of stories from dark blue, boat people uttering ‘I’m a real Captain you know, not just a pilot’ to which the retort is generally £120,000+ a year and Law says something very different. (In Law, the Captain of an aircraft is a defined and recognised position, not just a rank), through the RM Major wondering why he was lying on the ground with 5 MP5s pointing at his head, because he thought it was funny to say he’d got a bomb in his baggage, to the (drunken) squaddie claiming to be disabled, so he needs an extra legroom seat…

Civvies generally moan because, despite everyone else managing to check-in on time; “It’s only 15mins after check-in closed, so why can’t the aeroplane wait for me- your customer service is rubbish”, or, “I don’t care that there is a limit on handbaggage- I should be able to take my Double-Bass/ Lifesize Stuffed Tiger/ coffin in the cabin”, or, “No-one tells us anything- I didn’t read the information handout, that was put in my hand, about the French Air Traffic Strike, that had been in the news for a week before”

Topman
Topman
November 30, 2014 9:42 pm

@ TD

Opps, sorry boss. Just a bit of banter :)

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 30, 2014 10:43 pm

I understand the concept of ‘buying availability’ but it does make you wonder if the day arrives when Airtanker says ‘Please can you use your A400Ms/C17s/Lease aircraft rather than we recall the Thomas Cook ones?’ It will be cheaper, we will pay you……..

The biggest issue is the actual service being offered to the Light Blue only minimally meets requirements.

PS I would be pretty pi$$ed off if I sat on one of those for a trip to Vegas, where is the IFE?

Nick
Nick
December 1, 2014 5:36 am

@Thread

How would a conflict be dealt with under the contract ? Suppose we were engaged in a short notice conflict which required our entire tanker fleet, but one or several aircraft had been let on a mixture of short and long leases to Thomas COOK, which required us to break the lease terms.

Who would compensate the PSA body (and Thomas Cook) ? Presumably the MoD ?

The only way this sort of contract makes much sense commercially would be if we acquired more aircraft than we notionally needed, with the extra forming a sort of emergency reserve. This would make a lot of sense as we’d be able to generate surge capacity at short notice.

In respect of the transport side, wouldn’t have made sense to use the additional capacity from these aircraft to replace leasing commercial aircraft rather than to try and use “spare” capacity to end leasing income ?

Generally speaking I do think PPP/PSI was one of the worst ideas any British government has thought up…

Kent
Kent
December 1, 2014 6:14 pm