Times of Malta

President spent over €60,000 on private jet, hotel for Queen’s funeral


President George Vella took a private jet to the Queen’s funeral because all other “direct flights were full-up”, according to his office.

The one-way flight to London on September 17, 2022 cost Maltese taxpayers €30,350, according to invoices published by the website MaltaFiles, with the president and his entourage also racking up an additional €32,000 bill for hotel accommodat­ion.

A spokespers­on for his office said the president was forced to charter a private jet because all commercial flights to London were full and catching a connecting flight would have meant he would not have made it to the funeral in time.

Delegation spent over €10,000 per night on accommodat­ion alone

The president flew back to Malta on a commercial flight.

As Malta’s head of state, Vella was among the hundreds of dignitarie­s invited to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September 2022.

On Monday, MaltaFiles published invoices for the president’s private jet flight, accommodat­ion at the Corinthia Hotel London and Air Malta flights back from the UK.

Vella’s stay at the five-star Corinthia cost another €32,000 and Air Malta flights cost €6,000, shooting the total cost of the fourday trip to more than €60,000.

The Queen’s funeral was held in London on September 19, 2022. The Office of the President said that Vella and an “accompanyi­ng delegation” flew to London on September 17 and returned on September 20.

“The President of Malta travelled with a private jet on the outbound to London to attend HM Queen Elizabeth’s funeral as direct flights were full-up and the available connection flights were not a valid option to allow The President to arrive in time to be able to attend the funeral,” she said. “With regards to the inbound flight from London, The President of Malta returned to Malta with an Air Malta flight on September 20, 2022.”

Accommodat­ion cost €10,000 per night. However, invoices for accommodat­ion detailed a much longer stay, spanning from September 16 to 29.

A spokespers­on for the president said that was an error, as the Maltese delegation was only in London for three nights.

The spokespers­on did not, however, contest the £27,926 (€32,605) total amount invoiced

– meaning the delegation spent more than €10,000 per night on accommodat­ion alone.

In 2022, days before the funeral which captured global attention, Politico had reported that Buckingham Palace was urging dignitarie­s to avoid taking private jets or helicopter­s to the event, as Heathrow Airport would probably not be able to accommodat­e aircraft parking for all.

The published invoices show that the Bombardier Challenger 605 private jet which Vella and his delegation chartered landed in Farnboroug­h Airport – an airport outside London which advertises itself as the “ultimate in private aviation where discreet ambience and exemplary service are combined with bespoke amenities and state of the art services for passengers, crew and aircraft”.

 ?? PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTO­CK.COM ?? A Bombardier Challenger 605 private jet taking off the Luqa runway a few months before the President’s trip to London.
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTO­CK.COM A Bombardier Challenger 605 private jet taking off the Luqa runway a few months before the President’s trip to London.

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