UK prime minister Tony Blair is to take an evaluation tour of the Airbus A319 Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) today at the Farnborough air show, speculation has it.

The UK head of government is addressing the air show today at around 15:00 on the importance of aerospace to the UK economy. After this, he is understood to be offered a chance to look around a corporate interior version of the ACJ.

Airbus does not have an ACJ on the static display at the show, where security has been tightened today ahead of the visit. A demonstration aircraft could be flown into the adjacent TAG Aviation fixed base operation. At previous air shows Paris-based Aero Services has offered use of its ACJ to Airbus for customer visits.

Blair has come under political pressure to chose a European aircraft for a replacement to the aircraft of the Royal Air Force's No 32 (The Royal) Squadron. The UK government has signalled its intention to acquire a long-range airliner-class business jet and a smaller business jet for European flights. It is unclear whether the A319-based ACJ would fall into either category or whether Blair would meet Airbus's corporate jet team to discuss larger alternatives, such as the A330.

Since 1944 US presidents including current US president George Bush, have had their own aircraft, currently two Boeing 747-200Bs, known as Air Force One when occupied, leading some to dub the UK prime minister's proposed aircraft 'Blair Force One'. The Royal Family would also have access to the new aircraft under plans.

Source: Flight International