Mourning Royals Fly Private As UK Prepares For Queen's Funeral

 - September 12, 2022, 9:23 AM
An Embraer Legacy 600 aircraft operated by Luxaviation carried the UK's King Charles III to Edinburgh for one of several official mourning events for the late Queen Elizabeth II. (Image: BBC)

An 11-day period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II has resulted in extensive private jet activity as members of the UK’s royal family travel across the country for a busy schedule of official events. Meanwhile, the government is asking foreign leaders traveling to London for a September 19 funeral to take commercial flights, advising that business and government aircraft will not be permitted to use Heathrow Airport, and will instead have to land at other airports around the UK capital.

On two trips to Scotland, where the Queen died on September 8, her successor King Charles III arrived in an Embraer Legacy 600 operated by charter group Luxaviation. Other members of his family have been traveling in a pair of Dassault Falcon 900LX jets purchased earlier this year by the Royal Air Force to replace its BAe 146 Royal Flight aircraft. These aircraft (tail numbers G-ZAHS and GZABH), which are also used to carry senior government leaders such as newly installed Prime Minister Liz Truss, are operated under a contract by Centreline Aviation.

According to a September 11 report in Politico, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), urged foreign leaders to take airline flights to the funeral, stressing that Heathrow will not be available for private aircraft and that helicopter flights between airports and city-center locations will not be permitted. The FCDO did not comment on the report, which also said that dignitaries are being asked to use a bus shuttle service to and from the funeral to avoid road congestion with hundreds of official cars trying to access Westminster Abbey.

The Luxaviation group, including UK-based London Executive Aviation, which is the registered operator of the Legacy used by King Charles (tail number G-LEGC), said it is “extremely proud to have worked with the royal family for 12 years, and it has been with great honor that we have flown Her Majesty and her late husband HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, around the world.” The company expressed condolences for the death of Queen Elizabeth in a statement issued on September 9.

On Monday, King Charles, accompanied by his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, flew to the Scottish capital Edinburgh where the late Queen was lying in state before being flown to London on Wednesday. Later this week, King Charles is due to fly to other mourning events in Belfast and Cardiff, which are respectively the capitals of Northern Ireland and Wales.