The Duke of York, who was nicknamed ‘Air Miles Andy’ for his private jet habits when he was the UK trade envoy, was up to his old tricks last year. According to the Sovereign Grant financial report, published last month, Andrew took a charter flight from Farnborough to Londonderry and then another charter flight from Aldergrove near Belfast back to Farnborough, totalling £15,848. He was travelling as a former captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and in the capacity as Patron of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
It was the first time the Open Championship had been to Northern Ireland in 68 years.
However, he could have taken a commercial airliner, with flights from London to Londonderry costing as little as £41 with Loganair.
Flights from Belfast to London are even easier and can cost less than £30 with easyJet and Ryanair.
Even British Airways sell economy tickets for less than £50 from Belfast to Heathrow ‒ which is actually closer to his home at The Royal Lodge than Farnborough ‒ and business class tickets for little over £100.
Prince Andrew took a £16k private jet trip to go to a golf event
Prince Andrew watching the golf in July 2019
A source close to Prince Andrew defended the use of a charter flight over a scheduled flight, saying: “In this particular case, we concluded that actually, the use of charter was the only way to get him to complete his engagements to fit in with his other programmes.”
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
Mr Myers branded the price tag on Andrew’s July trip “ludicrous”, also criticising Princess Anne for her £16,440 private jet trip to Italy for a rugby match in February.
He said: “The big thing I do have a problem with is £16,000 on Prince Andrew’s private jet trip to Belfast, which is absolutely ludicrous.
Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties just a few months later
“You could probably get an £85 return with Flybe or BA, so why on earth is he spending £16,000?”
However, he defended the £243,643 bill for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Africa tour, saying he did not think it was actually that much, given the nature of the journey and the importance of the work.
He said: “You know what, a lot was made about that £250,000 but I didn’t think it was that much.
“Because, let’s take out the fact that they launched that bombshell statement ‒ and I think that was probably the issue, wasn’t it, that they were using taxpayer funds in order to then use the media to publicise their trip and then drop the bombshell that they did and that they essentially paved the way for them to leave the Royal Family…
William and Harry ‘refused to drop friend’ despite Charles’ orders [REVEALED]
Prince Philip’s wise words for Princess Anne exposed: ‘Careful!’ [VIDEO]
Meghan Markle’s ex-husband’s ‘cold fury’ when her name is mentioned [INSIGHT]
Royal expert defended Harry and Meghan’s Africa tour costs
“But the Government is there to pay for royals to go on trips like this and to spread brand royal and brand Britain.”
What many will find especially galling is how Andrew’s trip on taxpayers’ money took place just a few months before he stepped back from royal duties.
His disastrous Newsnight interview about Jeffrey Epstein came out in November and just days later he stepped back from royal duties in disgrace.
Since then, the Duke of York has not undertaken any official duties and stayed out of the limelight.
Royal Portrush Golf Club
Andrew also has a history of lavish use of helicopters and other aircraft at public expense when he was the UK’s trade envoy.
Harry Fone, grassroots campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the prince’s chartered flight was not a good use of public funds.
He told the Daily Mail: “It’s disappointing to see such high costs for royals suing taxpayer-funded privileges.
The final round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club
“While it’s important they can quickly go from meeting to meeting, private jets should only be used in the most crucial circumstances directly related to fulfilling their duties,
“Royals should think twice before being reckless with taxpayers’ cash, and cut back on excessive expenditure.”
To subscribe to Pod Save the Queen go to your normal podcast provider.
— to www.express.co.uk