From Washington to Watford: NATO at 70

The NATO Leaders' Meeting – held at The Grove Hotel near Watford, Hertfordshire, on December 3-4, had added significance this year as the political and military alliance celebrated the 70th anniversary of its formation in Washington DC on April 4, 1949.

The event attracted political and diplomatic heavyweights from the organisation’s 29 member states and with them came an array of presidential, governmental and VIP aircraft. Some of our regular readers were in prime position at London Stansted Airport to document the unusual visitors.


The government of the Netherlands took delivery of this 26-seat Boeing 737-700BBJ, PH-GOV (c/n 64970), in June 2019. King Willem-Alexander has held a commercial pilot’s licence since 1987 and has flown Boeing 737s for KLM and Fokker 70s for KLM Cityhopper as a guest pilot. Keith Burton


German Chancellor Angela Merkel flew in onboard Airbus A319CJ, 15+01 (c/n 1212). It is one of two A319s in the Cologne Bonn-based Flugbereitshaft des Bundesministerium der Verteidigung fleet. The VIP squadron also operates three Bombardier Global 6000s, three Global 5000s, two Airbus A340-300s and an Airbus A321. The A340s are due to be replaced by three ACJ350-900s from later this year. Alisdair Anderson


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