The Royal Australian Air Force has five Special Purpose Aircraft operated by Number 34 Squadron from Defence Establishment Fairbairn, Canberra. The Special Purpose Aircraft are comprised of two Boeing 737 BBJ (Boeing Business Jet) and three Challenger CL-604 aircraft.
Air Force provides Special Purpose Aircraft in accordance with Commonwealth Government Guidelines for the Use of Special Purpose Aircraft. Air Force is funded as part of the broader Defence budget to provide these flights to transport Entitled Persons to meet their official commitments.
When considering the use of Special Purpose Aircraft, the first consideration is the availability and suitability of commercially available travel. In circumstances where commercial alternatives are readily available, the Special Purpose Aircraft are not used in order to reduce the costs to taxpayers. Where commercial alternatives are not suitable due to the location, timing, or security considerations; the Royal Australian Air Force provides air travel for official government commitments.
RAAF operates the Special Purpose Fleet in a cost-conscious manner, by considering the most efficient aircraft for the transport task required. For example, The BBJ is typically used for long distance travel or with large groups. The Challenger CL604 is typically used for shorter tasks in to smaller airfields. In most cases, the aircraft will remain with the VIP to reduce costs, but there may be circumstances where this is not possible or desirable. This may be due to aircraft maintenance requirements, lack of aircraft parking availability, lack of appropriate security, or a requirement to undertake other tasks or essential aircrew training.
The number of flights provided by Number 34 Squadron varies each year. On average, Number 34 Squadron provides between 1200-1800 special purpose flights each year.
Copies of the Schedule of Special Purpose Flights are prepared twice each year, and tabled in Parliament. Once tabled, copies are available from the Parliamentary Library and the Defence Freedom of Information page.
In accordance with the Commonwealth Government Guidelines for the Use of Special Purpose Aircraft, costings of special purpose flights are not made available until the Schedule of Special Purpose Flights has been tabled in Parliament. Prior to tabling, passenger names are not released in order to comply with the Privacy Act 1988.
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