A privately owned Boeing 747 jumbo jet is being sold for scrap after just 30 hours in the air over a total of 16 flights.
The aircraft, which was configured as a private VIP jet intended for a member of the Saudi royal family, remained on the tarmac for almost 10 years at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, at the border between France, Switzerland and Germany.
Plans to furnish the jet with a lavish interior fell through and, after failing to secure a new buyer, the aircraft was finally flown to Pinal Airpark in Arizona, where retired planes get stripped for parts.
The $560m (£465m) million BBJ – Boeing Business Jet – was one of just 10 privately owned jumbo jets.
These heavily modified editions boast a cabin space of around 5,000 square feet and are largely configured to attract governments and high net worth corporate clients.
According to Connor Diver, a senior analyst at aviation analytics firm Cirium, the jets are jumbo in both name and nature.
“Ten were built in total, and this is the first one retired,” he told CNN.
“It’s not transparent who exactly is buying them, but it’s a very, very large private aircraft and the only operators or buyers tend to be governments and royal families.”
While their limited numbers may increase their appeal to aviation enthusiasts with money to spare, furnishing such a supersonic creation poses a major stumbling block.
“Fitting one of these out would cost 30, 40 maybe 50 million dollars,” said Mr Diver.
“Although you might think it’s a brand new aircraft, the alternate uses for it are rather limited. The commercial passenger variant had a limited production and very few airlines operated it, and they would not be interested in taking any more. So the only other option was potentially another government, but obviously that didn’t happen.”
As a consequence, the parts – particularly the engines – are worth far more than the aircraft itself.
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