Why Boris Johnson’s Jet Cost £900,000 to Paint

Yesterday, the aircraft that is used to transport the UK prime minister and other government officials was rolled out of the paint shop and revealed to the world for the first time.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) Voyager ZZ336 (c/n 1363), which is a military variant of the Airbus A330, was stripped of its dull grey scheme and given a new Union Flag inspired livery, at a cost of £900,000.

PM Jet
The jet was painted by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG) at its Cambridge facility. MoD Crown Copyright/Sgt 'Matty' Matthews

This price tag raised some eyebrows and brought the process of painting aircraft into the public eye. So, how is it done and why did it cost that much?

Painting Process

The process aligns very closely with that of other transport vehicles like cars and bikes. The first step is to take the old paint off. You can’t simply cover over the previous layer because this would add weight to the aircraft, something that is closely monitored because it impacts performance.

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