How Do World Leaders Fly?

Air Force One, the plane that carries the US President is one of the most secure aircraft in the world, equipped with heat-seeking missile decoys and extensive sets of defenses, and according to several sources, Air Force One is so durable that the plane’s body can withstand a nuclear explosion. Other than the USA, which planes carry world leaders in style to their destination safely? But some notable countries that do not operate dedicated aircraft for their leaders or royals include Austria, China, New Zealand, and Singapore, instead, their leaders tend to lease jets from their national airlines.

The UK- RAF Voyager

The RAF Voyager in its new paint job (Credit: BBC)

Being the first country to introduce dedicated aircraft to transport VIPs, mainly government officials and the royal family in 1928, the Royal Air Force’s 32nd Squadron has been given the role of taking care of the VIPs. The main aircraft is an A330, named the RAF Voyager, registered as ZZ336. In November 2020, the RAF Voyager received a new paint job, changing from its standard military grey to a white body with a red, blue, and whitetail, which are the colors that resemble the union jack (flag of Great Britain). The new paint job cost around £900,000 which raised some controversy. Despite being used for VIP transport, it is also used to refuel planes mid-air for the RAF when it is not carrying VIPs. Another rather surprising factor is that, unlike other aircraft that carry world leaders (such as Germany’s Konrad Adenauer), RAF Voyager is not decked out with a lavish cabin but instead equipped with 100 economy-style seats and 58 business class style seats.

Germany- Konrad Adenauer

Konrad Adenauer taxiing (Credit: FL360aero)

Former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel had a fleet of planes under her belt. There are a few of these but the most iconic of these is the relatively new A350-900, named the “Konrad Adenauer”, a former German statesman and politician. Previously 2 other aircraft had held the name “Konrad Adenauer” an A310-300 which served under the German government from 1990 to 2011. Then a former Lufthansa A340-300 took over from 2011 to 2021. The A340 is still in service but supposedly carries different personnel. The current “Konrad Adenauer” is an A350-900, which came into service with the German government in January of 2021. The A350 is also nicknamed “Merkel One”, and is stationed in Cologne’s Koln Bonn Airport and is looked after by the Luftwaffe/ German Air Force.

USA- Air Force One

Air Force One (Credit: The

This plane does not need a lengthy introduction. Air Force One is a pair of highly upgraded and customized Boeing 747-200Bs which fly the President of the United States and his accomplices. It was first introduced in 1990 and as of May 2022, it is 32 years old. This plane is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it is so durable that it can withstand a nuclear explosion. Despite being a 747, it has three floors, and to show how luxurious it is I will have to list it. Facilities of Air Force One include:

  • A crew lounge
  • A telecommunications center to support the 85 telephones and 20 TVs onboard, as well as to control the tracking, radar, and defense systems
  • Bedrooms
  • A dressing room
  • Large bathroom with shower
  • A gym
  • President’s personal office
  • Fully decked out medical suite
  • Large galley
  • Conference rooms
  • A dining room
  • Security stations/areas

Air Force One is also equipped with countless defense measures, including heat-seeking missile decoys.

The presidential plane of South Korea- “Code One”. (Credit: Wikipedia)


  • DW Germany
  • Simple Flying
  • The White House (Website)

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