French President Emmanuel Macron Visits Sydney

By Grahame Hutchison on Thursday, 3rd May 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron made his first visit to Sydney this week for talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The focus of the visit was strengthening defence, trade and strategic ties, with PM Malcolm Turnbull announcing on Thursday that detailed design work for Australia’s 12 new submarines will move from France to Australia in 2022. China's growing influence in the South Pacific and Climate Change were also discussed. Following his Sydney visit, President Macron heads for Nouméa, where he will rally support for New Caledonia to remain a French Territory, ahead of a referendum in November this year.

Jump Ahead To: Advance Party Arrival, President Emmanuel Macron's Arrival or Departures


Monday 30th April 2018 - Advance Party Arrival

Armée de l'Air Airbus A340-212 F-RAJB operating as CTM0021, arrived on Sydney Airport Runway 16R from Singapore at 2145L, after making a quick stop over in Nouméa. The aircraft taxied to DOM6 Bay 98 where it stayed for the next two days.

Passengers on F-RAJB were likely Government Officials, Defence Contractors, and Media arriving early so they could cover President Macron's arrival.

The following day there were a few more opportunities to photograph A340 F-RAJB from different angles.

Airlines no longer operate the Airbus A340 into Sydney, so this visit by F-FAJB was a great opportunity to catch this rare example. The only other Airbus A340's to operate at Sydney Airport currently are the ADF (Australian Defence Force) charters using HiFly aircraft.

The old Armée de l'Air livery, with the Red, White, and Blue tail.

A late afternoon shot of F-RAJB underneath the wing of RAAF B737-7DF/W BBJ A36-002, which had just arrived carrying Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and other Government Ministers.


President Emmanuel Macron's Arrival

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives on board RAAF Boeing 737-7DF/W BBJ A36-002, ready to greet President Macron at an Opera House Dinner that evening with his wife Lucy.

Australian Senator Marise Payne (Minister For Defence), and Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, also arrive on board A36-002, along with other Members of Parliament.

The Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, arrives on board RAAF Challenger 604 A37-002, with the Armée de l'Air A340 F-RAJB in the background.

 The Armée de l'Air Airbus A330-223 F-RARF, with President Macron on-board, arrives on Runway 16R from Singapore at 1742L as CTM0001, and then taxies via GOLF to DOM6 Bay 97.

Airbus A330 F-RARF has the forward and rear stairs in place, ready to open the mid-cabin door for President Macron's welcome.

President Macron about leave the aircraft, to be greeted by Australian Officials.

With all the official party on their way to the city by motorcade, F-RARF sits alone with a catering truck waiting to service the aircraft.

The final French Air Force aircraft to arrive was Dassault Falcon 7X F-RAFA, possibly carrying French Military and Naval Contractors for the defence talks with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull.

The following day, Wednesday 2nd May 2018, all three aircraft were parked side by side on the DOM 6 Apron - A330 F-RARF has the new Armée de l'Air livery, and an engine cowl off another aircraft.

The sweeping Red, White, and Blue stripes looks very impressive on the A330

The left Mid Cabin door on F-RARF displays the French Coat of Arms.

Armée de l'Air Dassault Falcon 7X F-RAFA parked on DOM6 Bay 99


Thursday 3rd May 2018 - Departures

President Macron's motorcade arrives at Sydney Airport for the 1250L departure to Nouméa.

With the President on-board, Tug White Zulu tows Airbus A330 F-RARF out onto Taxiway GOLF for engine start.

F-RARF starts taxiing for an unexpected Runway 34R departure (normally Heads Of State would depart off the longer Runway 16R/34L). The light aircraft and short sector to Nouméa were probably the reason for Runway 34R being used.

F-RARF taxied along GOLF, parallel to Runway 25, looking beautiful on a brilliant blue sky day in Sydney.

F-RARF climbing out from Runway 34R and setting course for Nouméa. There are no registration marks anywhere on the aircraft.

Next to taxi was Dassault Falcon 7X F-RAFA, looking very smart in the brilliant sunshine. Although they taxied second, F-RAFA actually departed first because of their shorter taxi distance to Runway 34L.

The final aircraft to depart was Airbus A340 F-RAJB, which was also towed out onto Taxiway GOLF by Tug White Zulu for engine start.

The Ground Handler has a few final words with the Pilots before they get underway.

F-FAJB taxies on GOLF for a Runway 34L departure.

At 23 years old, F-RAJB still looks very smart and in pristine condition.

F-RAJB climbs out from Runway 34L, with Botany Bay in the background.

Just like the previous two aircraft, F-RAJB also headed to Nouméa.

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