Revealed: The high-tech aircraft used by world leaders from Jacinda Ardern to Joe Biden

Without a doubt, Air Force One is the most famous world leader's aircraft on the planet and perhaps the most recognisable aircraft full-stop.

But as well as the US President, many world leaders also have their own aircraft - including Aotearoa.

During 2020's pandemic lockdowns when commercial domestic travel wasn't available, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern flew in a much smaller Beechcraft King Air 350.

Boris Jet

ZZ336 Royal Air Force Airbus Voyager KC3 (MADRS48) landing in to RAF Brize Norton. ZZ336 underwent a ?900,000 refurbishment program which included painting the jet in the colours of the Union flag and the United Kingdom in gold. ZZ336 is also used for the Royal Family and the prime minister. The new livery is seen to ''better represent'' the UK abroad. The work was carried out by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group in June 2020. RAF Brize Norton, England, United Kingdom, on August 13, 2020. (Photo by Jon Hobley | MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Boris Johnson was criticised for spending more than a million dollars making over his aircraft, now referred to as 'Boris Jet'.

The A330 aircraft, which is also at times used by the Royal Family, was originally painted in dark grey, befitting its main role in the Royal Air Force. But the UK government decided it should reflect the country it represents more, so now it has a large Union Jack on the tail with United Kingdom written in gold along its side.

In March, a second aircraft was painted in the same colours.

Air Force One

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03:  Air Force One following the arrival of US President Donald Trump at Stansted Airport on June 3, 2019 in London, England. President Trump's three-day state visit will include lunch with the Queen, and a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, as well as business meetings with the Prime Minister and the Duke of York, before travelling to Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

While the term Air Force One is only given to an aircraft when the US President is onboard, it's most associated with the blue and white Boeing 747 aircraft which has flown all presidents since it was introduced in 1990.

Its days are numbered, however, with Boeing working on its replacement, the 747-8. While the aircraft type is confirmed, there has been no decision made on how the aircraft will be painted.

Numerous designs have been shared online, but with Donald Trump out of office, its livery is likely to be something a little less radical than many of the suggestions.

New Zealand

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 16:  An RNZAF Boing 757 makes a low pass over the airfield during the 'Warbirds over Wanaka' International Airshow on April 16, 2006 in Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.  (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

As well as the King Air aircraft mentioned above, the Royal New Zealand Air Force also has two Boeing 757-200s which are often used to transport the Prime Minister on international trips, as well as any Royal Family members visiting Aotearoa.

While the Boeing 757 is relatively old, it is still said to be the most powerful aircraft for its size in the world.

If the New Zealand Government was to upgrade its VIP aircraft, there would be no better time than now with the secondhand aircraft market being swamped due to COVID-19.


Revealed: The high-tech aircraft used by world leaders from Jacinda Ardern to Joe Biden
Photo credit: Australian Air Force

There's a few options for ScoMo and his mates in government. The Royal Australian Air Force leases two Boeing 737 Business Jets, as well as a large Airbus KC-30A, and three more conventional looking Dassault Falcon 7Xs.

Pope Francis

'Shepherd One'
'Shepherd One' Photo credit: Getty Images

Since the Pope himself doesn't have an official air force or his own plane, the responsibility for his international travel falls on Italian national carrier Alitalia.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Pope's air travel is the callsign given to an aircraft when he's onboard: Shepherd One.

Kim Jong-un

PYONYANG SUNAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA - 2013/10/24: Air Koryo's Ilyushin Il-62M being prepared for departure. (Photo by C. V. Grinsven/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

It may come as no surprise that Kim Jong-un flies in an old Russian aircraft known as the Ilyushin Il-62. It's given the callsign Chammae-1 after North Korea's national bird, the goshawk.

Doomsday Plane

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 05: US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's plane arrives for his visit to New Zealand on August 05, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. Secretary Esper is in New Zealand for two days for bilateral meetings. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

It's not the current aircraft of the US President and we can only hope that it never is.

The Boeing E4B, known as the 'Doomsday Plane', is an aircraft especially designed to carry the president should the United States come under nuclear attack.

It's designed to withstand the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion and remain completely intact. Because of this, it's become known as the Doomsday Plane'.

In August of 2019, the aircraft was the talk of the town in New Zealand when it arrived unexpectedly in Auckland carrying the then US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper.