Obama, eat your heart out: Tony travels in style on Blair Force One

The former Prime Minister has been seen stepping off the £7,000-per hour jet

For plane spotters, it is the distinctive black and gold livery of the Global Express BD-700 that turns heads. For Tony Blair, the attraction is more likely to be the 2,100 cubic feet of cabin space, including a luxury stateroom. Or maybe it is simply the thrill of travelling on £30m of private jet.

When it comes to flying across the globe seeking to help resolve some of its problems while also amassing an estimated £40m and seven homes, it seems the former prime minister has developed a taste for the very best in high-end aviation.

Mr Blair has been spotted descending from the steps of a Canadian-built private plane which costs up to £7,000 an hour to hire and, because of its eye-catching paintwork, has become a sought-after sighting by plane fanciers who track it around the world.

The one-time Labour leader was spotted last month arriving at a regional airport in upstate New York as well as jetting into Bangkok and Sardinia on board the plane, whose playboy-style livery has been likened to the colour scheme sported by Formula 1 cars once sponsored by the John Player cigarette brand.

While in government, Mr Blair, 60, considered financing a jet for prime ministerial use. The proposal - instantly dubbed  Blair Force One - was abandoned on grounds of cost.

Out of office, it seems such problems have been surmounted. With a list price of around £30m, the Global Express BD-700, manufactured by Canadian aviation company Bombardier is the pinnacle of long-range private jet travel with an ability to fly non-stop for 13 hours while cossetting up to 12 passengers with leather reclining seats and two kitchens. The plane can be configured to include a stateroom complete with a double bed and a private bathroom.

As Bombardier puts it: “This jet was purpose-built to fulfil the desires of the most sophisticated and demanding business travellers without compromise.”

Among the journeys believed to have been undertaken by Mr Blair in the chartered jet, which is owned by an unnamed individual and hired out by Hampshire-based leasing company Aravco, was a trip in August to Adirondack Regional Airport, a New York state backwater close to the Canadian border.

The local newspaper reported how airport staff watched as Mr Blair’s security detail, who accompany him across the world, entered the airport cafe and souvenir store. One worker told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise: “We saw it was him with our own eyes.”

The former prime minister is also thought to have used the aircraft, which has a range of 7,000 miles, to fly from London to Bangkok earlier this month to give a speech at a conference on reconciliation.

If the plane had been hired at its maximum advertised hourly rate, a journey from London to Bangkok would cost about £85,000.

A spokesman for his office said on Sunday: “Taxpayers do not foot any part of the bill.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor