Two years ago I made sure you knew that you had a rare chance to travel like an oil-rich emir by buying Qatar's retired 747SP VVIP flying palace. Now an even rarer opportunity has surfaced—to acquire a barely used, fully decked-out 747-8i Boeing Business Jet that served Qatar in the same role as its stubbier predecessor.
That's right, one of two 747-8i Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) that serve Qatar's Amiri Flight is on the market. The aircraft, registered VQ-BSK, only came off the assembly line in Everett in December of 2012.
It then spent a couple years being outfitted by Boeing's San Antonio service center with its VVIP interior and features before being delivered to Qatar in 2015. It only has 436 hours on its airframe and just 200 cycles!
The interior, which is a bit more tasteful than you might have expected, is designed for just 76 passengers and eighteen crew—that's right, an entire 747-8i for 94 people total. A three-class layout 747-8i carries over 400.
It's equipped with an elaborate Panasonic in-flight entertainment system and a full camera and security system by Otonomy Aviation. The aircraft has various staterooms, lounges, boardrooms, first class seating areas, and even its own hospital.
It's not clear why Qatar would want to sell one of their two 747-8i BBJs. The other, A7-HBJ, wears a less descript livery and we don't know how it interior compares opulence wise with VQ-BSK. It's also worth noting that there are areas and features on the jet that we don't see in the photos above and are not listed—they are not for mere peasants eyes.
There can be no doubt that operating the largest and most expensive private jet in the world isn't a highly economical affair even for an oil-rich kingdom. Also, their size alone is limiting when it comes to getting into some destinations and unless you have 78 people in your entourage, moving around the world in one of these flying yachts instead of a wide-body twin-jet or 737BBJ may be considered wasteful—everything is relative when it comes to this level of wealth.
Qatar's Amiri Flight definitely has options for its small user base. Its inventory includes a trio of widebody A340s and two A330s. For bread and butter work it has around eight narrow-body A320s as well as single A310. So yeah, basically it's a royal airline we are talking about here and everything from Qatari Air Force C-17s to C-130Js can be used to haul royal cargo as well.
A new 'green' (not outfitted for service) 747-8i costs roughly $370M but prices can change somewhat drastically based on a number of factors that are negotiated between Boeing and the buyer. The interior of a VVIP jet alone can cost many millions of dollars itself, so we really don't know how much Qatar has invested in VQ-BSK. But for the buyer who has money literally to burn in the form of copious amounts of jet fuel and wants to personally own the same type of jet as the one the President of United States will fly on in the not too distant future, this may be their best shot at a bargain price.
For all you other dreamers, you can still buy Qatar's 40-year-old 747SP for a cool $9.5M dollars—think of it as a starter jumbo jet of sorts. If you negotiate tough you may have money left over for your own gold-plated airstair escalator!
In the meantime, while you are pondering making such an investment, enjoy seat 27B, the dead skin covered and coffee stained flying throne placed conveniently between a Taco Bell eating monster and a screaming sugar-riddled child on your next Southwest flight.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com