The Royal Air Force has banned passengers from its fleet of 15 VC10 tanker transports due to airworthiness issues.
“There are some areas where further investigation must be done to ensure that our airworthiness arrangements are at least as effective as for civilian aviation,” an RAF spokesman said in a statement, adding that the measure had been introduced on January 15. The RAF has been particularly wary of airworthiness issues on its ageing aircraft since the loss of a Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft over Afghanistan due to a fuel leak in 2006.
The 15 aircraft are operated by 101 Squadron based at Brize Norton, with at least one aircraft permanently deployed to RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands. They are due to be replaced by a fleet of 14 leased Airbus A330 tankers operated by the AirTanker consortium from 2011 to 2015.