A Saudi billionaire has taken private jet ownership to the next level, purchasing an Airbus A380 superjumbo for private use.
The news came that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered the A380 in 2007 as hundreds of global aviation companies showcase their aircraft at the Middle East Business Aviation Show, which ended last week in Dubai.
According to BallerRide.com, the prince, a cousin of the Saudi king, spent close to $320 million on his new private aircraft and is spending a further $176 million on lavish modifications including:
- A $60 million gold leaf paintjob
- A lounge to seat a travelling entourage of 25 aides
- A marble-panelled dining room with seating for 14
- A bar with curtains to mimic tents of the Arabian desert
- A fibre-optic mosaic depicting a shifting desert scene
- A movie theatre with leather seats
- A series of bedrooms linked by intercom
- A gym and a large silk bed that will be the centrepiece of the plane’s interior.
An unnamed German company is said to be customising Alwaleed’s plane and will take two years to complete.
In the meantime he will have to make do with his private B747.
Habib Fekih, president of Airbus Middle East, says the company has been approached by two more individuals about its VIP version.
Similarly, Boeing said this summer it expects to sell six of its 747-8s to individuals within the next year, in deals totalling up to US$1.2 billion.