A PLANE that received a £900,000 Union flag paint job has been used just once in its promotional role in the past five months, it has been revealed.

The RAF aircraft was repainted last year with the "national branding" as the UK prepared to officially leave the European Union.

It was dubbed the "Brexit jet" due to the paint job meaning it will be used to promote the UK around the world on diplomatic trade missions while carrying royals and government ministers.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson branded 'trash act' as jet gets 'Union flag makeover'

However, analysis by the i of flight tracking data has revealed that the only use it has had in promoting the UK since the end of January has been in a flypast in Athens, marking the bicentenary of Greek independence and watched by Prince Charles.

Its main use in that time has been to refuel RAF fighter planes patrolling the North Sea. In this role, it has been used every few days. It joined other RAF planes on a Nato exercise in Europe earlier this month.

UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss used another RAF aircraft when she flew to Washington this week for talks with the US on what could be the Tory government's biggest foreign deal since Brexit.

Andy Netherwood, a former military transport pilot and defence commentator, told the i that the £900,000 livery means the RAF plane is not useable on operations requiring an " "inconspicuous paint scheme".

He added: "Its usefulness as a troop carrier is also reduced as its economy seats were replaced with fewer business class seats in the front two cabins.” 

The Government has said the plane's VIP role has been "greatly reduced" by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, a chartered Airbus A321 - also emblazoned with a Union flag - was leased by the Government earlier this year for an undisclosed sum. That plane has seen frequent use this year including multiple foreign trips by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

It was also used by Boris Johnson to fly from London to Newquay for the G7 summit last month.

READ MORE: More than two-thirds of Scots say Boris Johnson wrong to fly to G7 from London

The SNP criticised the cost of the RAF plane's paint job as a “Tory red, white and blue vanity project” and a “waste of public money”. 

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald said: “Boris Johnson has been happy to throw taxpayers’ cash at new, unnecessary jets, yachts and Union Jack paint jobs, whilst imposing austerity cuts on the rest of us.” 

LibDem deputy leader Daisy Cooper said that the jet's livery shows the Prime Minister's "ability to waste taxpayer’s money truly knows no bounds".

She added: “Wasting money on painting planes while refusing to feed hungry children or properly pay hard-working nurses is just another reminder that this failing PM will always put propaganda over people.”

A government spokeswoman said: “The VIP Voyager is used by the Prime Minister, senior ministers and members of the royal family for long-haul flights. During the global coronavirus pandemic, the number of such flights has been greatly reduced. 

“Since its livery was updated, the VIP Voyager continues to provide its primary military function of air-to-air refuelling support operations and training.”