UK-based AirTanker took its first Ministry of Defence passengers to Cyprus since gaining the relevant approvals to become an airline on January 5th. As part of its set-up to provide operational capability to the MOD, AirTanker will operate at least one of its 14 specially converted A330 aircraft, named Voyager by the RAF, on the civilian register.
"Having already started operations on the military register, we are delighted to have grown our civilian operations as planned," said James Scott, Director of Flight Operations and Captain for the first flight. "I’m pleased to say the aircraft performed brilliantly and our passengers arrived on time and in comfort.”
The flights are flown on the civilian register by an AirTanker crew and operate in a similar way to a charter aircraft, but the MOD has guaranteed access and therefore greater flexibility in their usage. As the final part of the process to become an airline. AirTanker completed a successful proving flight with the Civilian Aviation Authority to Reykjavik in Iceland to secure its Air Operator’s Certificate on December 13th.
“This achievement is rare - it has been many years since a long haul, wide bodied aircraft operator has launched operations in the UK under a CAA Air Operators Certificate, having started from scratch rather than evolving from another operation,” James said. “Gaining the relevant approvals and operating such a reliable aircraft allows us to offer the RAF a guaranteed service. This means they are able to plan with greater certainty, but vitally for military operations, with more flexibility.”