The Voyager fleet has reached a new operational milestone - flying more than 400,000 passengers since the start of its service in April 2012.
It follows a flight by G-VYGJ, operated by AirTanker under its own Air Operators’ Certificate, into RAF Brize Norton on Wednesday 18 March 2015. Combined with the eight military aircraft flown by the RAF, it means FSTA aircraft have now carried a total of 400,054 passengers.
Keith Filbey, Managing Director of AirTanker Services said, “This is a great achievement and is testament to the hard work of everybody involved from both AirTanker and the RAF. This is a world class service being delivered to support the UK Armed Forces, which is achieving levels of performance that would be envied by global airlines.”
AirTanker is contracted to supply nine aircraft to the RAF. This includes eight Voyagers flown by the RAF on the military aircraft register, in military configuration, and G-VYGJ, operated by AirTanker’s civilian pilots and cabin crew.
G-VYGJ completed the milestone flight as part of the twice-weekly air-bridge service connecting Brize Norton to the Falkland Islands, via Ascension Island.
Voyager ZZ330, the first Voyager into service, has itself now carried over 120,000 passengers, supporting RAF and UK Armed Forces deployments around the world.
Operated by the RAF and provided by AirTanker, whose shareholders include Airbus, Rolls Royce, Thales, Cobham and Babcock, Voyager is a Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft and a militarily converted derivative of the A330-200.
To date, the company, which was appointed by the MOD in 2008, has delivered 10 aircraft under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) contract.
This includes a core capability of nine aircraft, which was declared by the MOD this summer. This is made up of eight aircraft flown by the RAF on the Military Aircraft Register (2x two-point tankers and 6x three-point tankers) and one aircraft is flown on the CAR by AirTanker under its own AOC.
AirTanker is currently running a military to civil conversion on the tenth aircraft at its RAF Brize Norton operational hub. The delivery of the 11th aircraft is expected in mid-2015. A further three aircraft will be delivered up until the end of 2016, forming a five strong MRTT/A330-200 ‘surge fleet’.
These aircraft are available to the MOD if required at time of major conflict. When not required by the RAF, this surge fleet capability is available to AirTanker for release, with its agreement, for other purposes. This could include release to the charter market, less its military equipment or to partner nations in a military capacity with the MOD’s agreement.