Troops pay for own flights from Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by singha61, Aug 16, 2010.

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  1. Telegraph
    British troops returning from Afghanistan are paying for commercial flights back to the UK because the RAF's ageing transport aircraft keep breaking down.
    Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
    Published: 9:00PM BST 15 Aug 2010
    Delays to "rest and recuperation" (R and R) flights are now almost routine because of the operational demands being imposed on the TriStar jets, former passenger airliners bought by the RAF in the early 1980s.

    Some soldiers and marines have lost up to a quarter of their break as a result of flight disruption and troops are now warned not to book holidays during their time off from the front line, because of the chance of delays to their journey home.
    Most flights on the "air bridge", which links Afghanistan to the UK, stop at Cyprus to refuel, and increasing numbers of troops are now opting to pay for commercial flights home from there, rather than take their chances on the TriStars.

    Defences sources claim that at least 20 to 30 per cent of flights returning from Afghanistan are delayed at some stage during the journey due to mechanical failure.
    Troops returning from Helmand pay for own flights - Telegraph

    discussion on pprune
    Troops returning from Helmand pay for own flights - PPRuNe Forums
  2. R&R should start on reaching Brize or Germany.
    It's funny how there are never delays returning to Stan.
  3. There are. It's just that "troops spend hours hanging around Brize Norton terminal being alternately lied to and ignored (more of the latter than the former) by the movers" is so common it can hardly be considered 'news'.

    And, lets be honest, if it isn't easier for them to get the right part and the right mechanic to fix the antiques at Brize, their home base, than at Cyprus then there's is problem. Not saying they shouldn't be able to fix them in Cyprus but ...
  4. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Err, they do. The rule is to ALWAYS ring BZN before leaving home - the flights are delayed just as much one way as another.

    Truth is, the Tristars are knackered (they were well into old age before the RAF got them) and it's a wonder that they fly at all, let alone regularly.

    Yet again, it brings to the fore the question - why are the British the only major player in Afgh who fly directly into theatre? The USA, AUS, GER, FR, CAN, NL certainly do not - why must the RAF? I asked this a couple of years ago, and was told by a Crabair 1* that the reason was simple - without this, there would be no need for Tristars, but more need for Hercs and C17s, and the RAF do not wish to lose this 'ability'.
  5. I recognise the valiant efforts of the RAF crews, technical and flying. to keep these 'Science Museum' aircraft from falling to pieces.

    That said, I deplore and condemn, without reservation, the brain-dead politicians, led by the sociopath Brown, who refused, and continue to refuse, Osborne, to replace the ancient aircraft lumbering to and fro as a result of the grinning spiv Blair's ill-thought out military misadventures.

    If the thread title is correct that Service personnel are paying for themselves to return to UK for RR, it is a NATIONAL DISGRACE. Make no mistake about it, the man now responsible is Mr. David Cameron. He is quick enough to comment on school milk, let him address this problem - without delay.
  6. msr

    msr LE

    From the report:

    40. We asked Lieutenant General Figgures, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Equipment Capability), whether the position that the MoD found itself in reflected a failure of long-term planning. He did not consider it a failure of long-term planning, "because the manifestation of a failure would be that we suffered operational disadvantage". He added that "we have matched the demand to the supply and we have managed the supply".[52] However, he acknowledged that there was concern "about the probability of the impact of the risk increasing".[53] Later in this Report (paragraphs 47-53), we examine the issue of the airbridge. We consider that the damage to morale caused by problems with the airbridge may well amount to the "operational disadvantage" referred to by General Figgures.
  7. Ahh....But it was MUCH more important for MoD to piss around with a PFI project than actually do anything to replace the Tristars.

    I mean final bids were put forward in 2003. Yet not one single new aircraft has joined the RAF's Fleet. We're buying second and new A330-200's NOT reinventing the wheel !
  8. It's absolutely scandalous that the guys can't confidently plan there R & R a few days either way. The other side of this is the amount of time the guys are off the ground (out of the PBs) due to the random availability of rotary. We were lifting guys into BSN 4 or 5 days before their R & R dates and having them there for a similar period after because we couldnt risk them not getting off the ground due to the un reliabilty of the Helo sorties. Some were out of the PBs for about 24 days for a 14 day well deserved R & R. This was obviously good down time for those concerned but put additional pressure on those covering forward.
    Nobody expects a fool proof system (and it has/ had got better) but it is still much more fragile than it should be.
  9. Ultimately, R&R is a privilege on tour and not a right. Yes its important (god knows I'm looking forward to mine soon), but equally the idea that it is a scandal that soldiers feel the need to buy a flight is in my view BS. You know the RAF, for all their faults, will do what they can to get you home. You know that R&R starts on arrival at Brize, and that if delayed, movers will rebook you accordingly - so why the hell have people decided to book flights and complain to the media about it?

    Yes the systems not perfect, yes it would be great to have new aircraft, but ultimately the reason we don't is because of Gordon Brown cutting budgets and the Air lords deciding that whats really needed is a nice new Eurofighter. All this does is cause more hassle for 216Sqn, who will no now doubt be on the receiving end of more shite from those on high demanding to know whats going wrong, and why people are paying for flights back.

    If you think we're bad, then try flying back with the US sometime - I've got mates out here with horror stories about week long delays as standard due to their own nightmare system. We're not the only ones experiencing problems here.

    Ultimately paying for flight back is your call, but to whinge about it to the media is totally irresponsible and does no one any favours.
  10. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    As I mentioned above, a lot of this is down to the RAF's insistence on possessing an AT fleet fitted with DAS. Without it, there is little need for Tristars/replacements, and another chunk of the RAF becomes ripe for privatisation (which would quite possibly mean an improvement in service, to be honest).

    Earlier this year, so I understand, there was considerable discussion about our contribution to Afghanistan, and it was sugested that, as the contribution made by the RAF to CAS was so small, that it should be withdrawn (it was shown that this would be at no loss to the Troops on the ground) and the spare capacity in numbers (there is a government imposed cap on total force numbers) used for something more useful, like more troops, Loggies, etc.

    The RAF managed to quash this, as they see their contribution to air support as essential in proving the need for their existence. Much like the current Air Bridge system used by the UK, there is absolutely no need for Tornados in Afghanistan - they are only there to prove the RAF can do something. They are a 'political' weapon.
  11. Im sure the Dutch do. I saw a DC10 on H11 a few times in BASTION.
  12. I can't believe I'm about to do this.... well...


    I feel dirty now...
  13. Amusingly, my Google ads for this thread are now showing Easyjet!
  14. See my bold.