Liz Truss flew by private jet to Australia at cost of £500,000 to taxpayers
International secretary Liz Truss flew by personal jet to Australia at a value of over half-a-million kilos to the taxpayer as a result of she selected to not use scheduled business-class flights.
Quite than travelling from London to Sydney on one of many every day Qantas departures, Ms Truss insisted on flying the 22,000 miles to, from and inside Australia on the personal authorities Airbus A321.
The plane sort holds 235 passengers on easyJet flights, however the authorities’s model is kitted out with a VIP inside – together with lie-flat beds.
The mission to Australia and again this week burnt an estimated 150 tonnes of gasoline and generated almost 500 tonnes of CO2.
The Ministerial Code makes clear that solely the international secretary may authorise such a flight.
Scheduled flights have been obtainable for a similar itinerary, however it’s understood the personal flight was chosen for ‘safety concerns’ amid fears that conversations could possibly be overheard by different passengers.
A number one environmental campaigner has described the international secretary’s alternative as “an outrageous supply of emissions within the present local weather emergency”.
Ms Truss started her journey on at midday on 18 January with a flight from London Stansted to Dubai. It took off two hours after the common Qantas departure from Heathrow, which went nonstop to Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory and continued to Sydney.
After a 90-minute refuelling cease within the UAE, the international secretary’s aircraft flew in a single day to Kuala Lumpur, the place it took on extra gasoline.
Flight XT645, because it was coded, touched down at Sydney shortly after midnight on 20 January – 5 hours behind the Qantas scheduled flight from London.
The aircraft sat on the bottom at Sydney for 2 days whereas the international secretary met Australia authorities officers, earlier than flying throughout to Adelaide the place Ms Truss gave a speech.
Her personal flight on 22 January adopted a Qantas home service, QF733, which departed on precisely the identical route simply 17 minutes earlier.
Information recorded by Flightradar24 reveals the international secretary’s Airbus left Adelaide at 10.50pm the identical day. It refuelled at each Kuala Lumpur and Dubai earlier than arriving again at Stansted airport 1.20pm on 23 January.
The business various was a home flight the identical night from Adelaide to Darwin, connecting with the Qantas nonstop to Heathrow – arriving 9 hours earlier than the federal government plane.
A senior supply from the aviation constitution business instructed The Unbiased that the price of working Ms Truss’s journey would have been “at the very least £500k”.
The costliest business-class ticket for the international secretary’s whole itinerary on Qantas, which gives lie-flat beds on board the Boeing 787, would have been £7,712.
The International Workplace has not disclosed what number of officers have been on board, however the Ministerial Code says delegations ought to be stored “as small as moderately doable”. Not less than two units of flight crew have been required for the journey.
Anna Hughes, director of the environmental charity Flight Free UK, stated: ”Liz Truss has constantly demonstrated her lack of know-how in regards to the motion that all of us must take to handle the local weather disaster, and that is no exception.
“Flying to Australia and again on a chartered jet is shockingly privileged and an outrageous supply of emissions within the present local weather emergency.”
Ms Truss landed again at Stansted on the day earlier than the Cop26 president, Alok Sharma, instructed a Chatham Home occasion that world leaders should “honour guarantees” on local weather change.
The cupboard minister stated: “Until we honour the guarantees made, to show the commitments within the Glasgow Local weather Pact into motion, they may wither on the vine.”
Mr Sharma described the Cop26 settlement as “a sensible demonstration of World Britain in motion”.
A International Workplace spokesperson stated: “It’s mandatory for the international secretary to journey overseas to pursue UK pursuits round safety, commerce and know-how, as she did throughout this go to to Australia.
“This journey used authorities transport and was absolutely inside guidelines set out within the Ministerial Code.”
The aircraft use by the international secretary is an 18-month-old Airbus A321neo operated for the federal government by the Stansted-based airline Titan Airways.
It was delivered new from the Airbus manufacturing facility at Hamburg on 26 October 2020.