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>> News > United Kingdom
Easyjet flights to Iraq cancelled as ‘Blair Force One’ gets the go ahead - June 10th 2003

Easyjet have today announced that its planned London-Baghdad route is to be abolished today as Downing Street confirmed rumours that the Prime Minister would be getting a specialist plane for International visits, similar to Air Force One used by American Presidents.

This would cut down on the expense of chartering air flights from British Airways, reportedly costing over £5.6 million per year. Easyjet had announced they were aware of the expense and that hoped by running flights to areas that the Prime Minister was likely to visit would enhance their chances of successfully marketing a budget rival.

Easyjet was a little frustrated with the Government’s decision but was forced to accept it as no formal deal had been made:

“We’re a little annoyed. We had anticipated this venture to be successful and kitted out 2 of our 747s with bullet-proof glass, bomb proof doors, and an anti missile system – all to keep the 600 passengers in the economy section out of the Prime Minster’s way.”

The new plane is expected to make the transatlantic flights to Washington, trips to regions like the Middle East and Afghanistan, and at least two annual trips to Egypt – when the Egyptian government offers the Prime Minister and his family a free holiday.

In order to cut down on the expense of building a custom built plane, Downing Street has decided that it will use an existing plane and convert it. Originally, they had hoped to get Concorde meaning that if another terrorist attack occurred in New York, Blair could use Concorde to arrive before it took place and try to avert it.

However, after looking into this suggestion Blair discovered that this didn’t really happen he was forced to reconsider. In the end it was decided that they would use a retired air-to-air refueller aircraft, used to refuel fighter aircraft en route.

On hearing that the air-to-air refuelling planes were to be used, Mr Blair immediately drew up plans to send cabinet members down the umbilical cord, and load them onto fighter aircraft so they could be fired at political targets during times of crisis.

Mr Blair hopes that with laser guided technology and satellite navigation some of his ministers might actually reach their targets.

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