Air Force One is said to have cost the UK £8 million to land in Newquay

Air Force One is said to have cost the UK £8 million to land in Newquay

It was the first time the converted Boeing 747 VC-25A landed in Cornwall when it arrived in Newquay on Wednesday night. According to reports in the British news, the airport had to spend about £8 million modernising its infrastructure in order to accommodate the enormous planes, but is it the whole storey? Aviators Spot explores.

Air Force One has returned to the United Kingdom

The visit of US President Barack Obama has sparked a lot of enthusiasm in the United Kingdom this week. While some will be looking forward to the political implications of his visit, many who spend time on this site will be more excited about the idea of seeing Air Force One.

The VC-25A Boeing 747 was last seen in the UK in June 2019, when President Donald Trump arrived for a state visit. That time, the massive VIP plane landed at London Stansted, a smaller airport near London but quieter than Heathrow, with enough space to safely transport the President.

President Biden, on the other hand, was not planning on visiting the UK capital this week. Rather, his final destination was Cornwall, in the far southwest of the United Kingdom, where world leaders will gather this weekend for the G7 Summit.

The Boeing 747 was retrofitted and flown to Newquay, Cornwall.

The Boeing 747 was retrofitted and flown to Newquay, Cornwall. Photo: Getty Images

Biden departed at around 21:00, going for the Westcountry, after visiting RAF Mildenhall to greet US troops stationed there. In soon after 23:30, Air Force One landed at Newquay (NQY), Cornwall’s primary airport.

According to reports in the UK media today, the runway required to be improved in order to accommodate the VIP 747. Modifications that cost the UK taxpayer £7.8 million, according to reports.

Runway extension?

According to the Times, the runway was renovated for a cost of ‘at least’ £7.8 million (about $11 million) out of a £13 million ring-fenced budget. The funds were allegedly used to extend the runway. Is that, however, the entire storey?

Newquay had received a British Airways Queen of the Skies from Cardiff in October of last year, so it’s no stranger to 747s.

While Newquay isn’t a huge airport by any means, it does have a long runway. Although Embraers and other small regional planes are more likely to land on it, its length of 8,986 feet is sufficient for a 747 to land and take off. So, why was it necessary to upgrade?

Cornwall Council announced in March that it had won funds to upgrade parts of the airport. It was claimed that it could not ‘accommodate the needs of the aircraft types that would be arriving’ in its current state. The Council stated in a statement,

“The council was recently notified by the Cabinet Office of the Government that it will be granting grant funds of £7.853 million to support essential airport upgrades in preparation for the G7 summit.”

With heightened security around the airport, spotters hoping to catch a sight of the VIP aircraft will be out of luck. Photo: Getty Images

However, this is unlikely to entail a significant runway extension or be directly tied to the arrival of Air Force One. A big US military plane including several Osprey planes also accompanied the President. It’s more likely that any runway lengthening or strengthening had something to do with this arrival than the 747.

Some of the money was likely spent on improving terminal facilities and ensuring that security at the airport met the high standards expected of the world’s most powerful people. Simple Flying attempted to contact out to Newquay Airport for clarification, but had not received a response by the time of publication.

Have you seen AF1 this week in the UK? Are you optimistic about the G7 Summit’s outcomes? Please let us know in the comments section.

Source Link

Cover Photo Credit: Getty Images