How do you outdo competitors when access to private business jets is becoming easier by the year? Nine private individuals might tell you to throw a half billion dollars at Boeing, have them reconvert their defining 747 commercial airliner to your custom spec, and the story might only just begin from there.
This year has witnessed Boeing undergo their traditional year-long delay (it could definitely turn out to be longer) in rolling out the latest production model 747 but, thanks to a list of 9 VIP customers buying their 747-VIP variation, their income statement will reflect a quite different picture in the accounts.With the final customisations to make it “a jewel in the sky” being done in Germany, after a stint of modifications in Kansas last year, the 460-seater 747 certainly is a novel way to do business. Not least of all, it will cut down intercontinental travelling time with the same capabilities that any commercial passanger would expect when sharing breathing space with another few hundred odd strangers.
Details on Boeing’s most privy shortlist of customers are sketchy at worst and rumour at best. The only word floating about on the end-destination for first delivery of the 747-VIP suggest it will end up with the holding company of the Qatari Royal Family. As if the ramp up the superluxury conflict, Airbus have been a little more public (presumably thanks to their customer’s wishes) with their supply of a customised A380 private airliner to the Saudi Royal Family for approximately $500 million. A380s sell at $389.9 million to Airbus’ regular clientele before any alterations are made.
Although this is not the first Boeing jumbo airliner to be bought for private use, it is the first of it’s scale to be carried out in-house for first-time ownership. Previously, Google founding partners Sergey Bring and Larry Page has turned their second-hand Boeing purchase into a corporate playhouse to entertain business. Celebrities such as John Travolta also famously operate more classic Boeings like the 707. It seems that the market has only lent more determined growth to aviation manufacturers in all sectors, even the new VIP sector that we will have to label as the new frontier of super luxury for now.