A number of officials from the Foreign Office are thought to have boarded the plane for a 700-mile journey sight-seeing at 30,000ft over the UK. Alcoholic drinks and a lavish meal were served to the Whitehall mandarins on the 91-minute flight.
The plane took off from Stansted Airport and travelled to the Lake District and up to the Scottish border before turning around and coming back again.
A Government spokesman said the flight was necessary to comply with aviation law.
They said: “In order to comply with Airbus and aviation industry rules the aircraft was legally bound to operate a maintenance flight before September 4 or face significant additional storage costs.”
The spokesman added civil servants were on the flight to check the plane would “still meet ministerial requirements” following “a recent reconfiguration of the aircraft”.
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As many as a dozen Foreign Office officials were onboard according to The Sun, which originally reported the story.
The extravagant jolly at the taxpayer’s expense has sparked outrage.
The spending of up to £50,000 on the trip comes while hard-working Britons continue to grapple with the current cost-of-living crisis.
Labour’s shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry said: “This would be utterly disgraceful behaviour at the best of times, but in the middle of our country’s current crisis, it is shameful beyond words.”
Foreign Office officials took part in the jaunt on Wednesday even while Vladimir Putin continues his barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
The Government department has been on a war footing since February, working closely with Kyiv and international allies to defeat Russia.
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John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: “Taxpayers will wonder why pen-pushers had the privilege of taking a Government jet out for a spin.”
The RAF Voyager plane is the UK’s equivalent to the US President’s Air Force One.
It is used by the Prime Minister and the Royal Family when they are abroad.
Flight data shows the plane’s last trip was on July 21, from Darlington to Stansted.
The Government said there was a deadline of Sunday for the plane to be used again as aviation rules required it to be flown within 45 days.
In 2020 there was controversy over the costs of a makeover of the plane after £90,000 was spent painting a Union Jack on its tail.
At the time, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the new look “incorporates the cost of creating a design that will promote the UK around the world without compromising the plane’s vital military role”.
He added: “This will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with national branding, similar to many other leaders’ planes, while also retaining its military air-to-air refuelling capability.”