Anthony Albanese rejects special request for Queen's funeral guests

In the coming days, world leaders will make their way to the UK for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, but Australia's Prime Minister will be disregarding an official request.

World leaders have been asked to fly on commercial airlines where they can, according to official documents obtained by Europe-based politics publisher Politico.

The documents from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) reportedly said Heathrow Airport will not be able to accommodate private flights, so leaders should travel commercial "where possible".

If world leaders insist on travelling private, they should utilise other airports around London that are less busy.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will reportedly fly to the UK on a private jet for the Queen's funeral. Source: AAP
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will reportedly fly to the UK on a government jet for the Queen's funeral. Source: AAP

How Anthony Albanese will travel to London

Anthony Albanese is not expected to fly commercial when he and Governor-General David Hurley make the trip to the UK for the Queen's funeral. Instead, he will take the Royal Australian Air Force's VIP jet.

"I will travel this Thursday night from Australia," he said on ABC Breakfast on Monday.

"Those plans have been in place for a long period of time. Since well before I became Prime Minister. I don't know how many Prime Ministers ago the plans were put in place. But they're long-standing plans for myself and the Governor-General to travel to London and we'll be doing so on Thursday night."

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles told ABC RN that "generally" the prime minister does not fly commercial when travelling due to security concerns.

"I'm sure that the principle basis upon which the prime minister's travel arrangements will be determined will be as a result of security," he said, acknowledging he does not know how Mr Albanese will get to the UK.

"Prime ministers never travel commercial as far as I'm aware and that is largely to do with the security arrangements which go with [being] the Prime Minister."

Mr Marles said security has to be the "paramount consideration", adding it was just about the security of the prime minister, but also the public.

"There are real issues of having prime ministers on commercial planes in terms of the security of the public who are also on those planes. So we've got to be sensible about this," he said.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, September 12, 2022
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to fly on a government plane due to security concerns. Source: AAP

Mr Albanese and Mr Hurley will travel to the UK on September 19 for the funeral and return on September 21. The following day is Australia's national day of mourning.

Logistics are being worked out for Australia to help with transport for representatives from 10 Pacific island nations to attend the funeral.

World leaders to be shuttled in buses

Funeral guests will also not be permitted to use helicopters to travel between airports and venues, Politico reported.

They also won't be allowed to use state cars, instead, they will be travelling by organised buses to Westminster Abbey, due to "tight security and road restrictions" the documents obtained by Politico reportedly said.

Due to limited space at Westminster Abbey, only one representative from each country and their spouse are permitted to attend the Queen's funeral.

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