The Voyager Programme has taken another significant stride forward towards delivery of core capability of nine aircraft by Mid-2014 with the arrival of Voyager 03 into Brize Norton on 19 December.
The third Voyager aircraft to fly into AirTanker’s operational hub in 2012, it will join the Voyager fleet on the Military Aircraft Register.
Phill Blundell, CEO AirTanker, said: “Following the introduction of our air transport service in April this year, the Voyager programme is now entering an exciting delivery phase with the arrival of Voyager 02 and Voyager 03. Deliveries will continue into 2013 with three more aircraft due in the first half of the year.
“We look forward to working closely with the MOD and our partners throughout the coming year to deliver new operational flexibility to the RAF to support it and the wider UK military in safeguarding British and its partner interest around the globe.”
With an expectation of release to the MOD early in the New Year, Voyager 03 comes less than a month after the arrival of Voyager 02.
Voyager 02 will be flown and operated by AirTanker, using its own pilots, supported by AirTanker cabin crew on the Civilian Aircraft Register in support of MOD tasking.
AirTanker successfully demonstrated its full service capability to the Civil Aviation Authority in a proving flight to Keflavik on 13 December to secure its Air Operating Certificate (AOC).
Blundell continued: “Despite some challenging operating conditions, Voyager 02 successfully completed its CAA proving flight in December. It represents a significant stride forward both in terms of the programme and in the additional capability and importantly flexibility that access to a dedicated Civilian Registered Aircraft gives to the RAF.”
The AirTanker/Voyager programme continues to deliver some positive statistics following entry into service in April 2012.
Since then it has flown more than 320 times carrying more than 16,000 passengers, in excess of 1,101,500 kgs of cargo and clocked more than 1,140 hours.
Against this activity operational figures for the year to date, show an aircraft availability of 96%, while AirTanker achieved an on time performance (OTP) of almost 98%.
Blundell added: “Our operational levels of service are comparable to that of any commercial airline. It is illustrative of how through an innovative partnership and a unique delivery programme Voyager is not only delivering capability but critically increasingly flexible capability, to the RAF.”