At Only $9,000,000, you can own a king’s former flying palace
We love looking at airplane classifieds in Controller magazine. There are a host of Cirrus planes, some private jets, and helicopters. All great flying machines. Occasionally, we come across a very unique aircraft. We have to say that this latest ad for a 1979 Boeing 747-SP qualifies as one of the more unique jets available for purchase on the market today.
Yes, for only a cool $9M, you can own one a Boeing 747-SP with a fantastic history. The jet used to fly the Qatari Royal family. It mixed accommodation seating for 88 in a mostly luxurious configuration. The nose of the lower deck features a giant bathroom and bedroom. Plus you’ll get a nice reception lounge with seating by rank, a dining room, and plenty of storage. In the back there are a set of business class seats and an economy seating section for your in- laws.
The 747SP is a rare jet that you can own!
The ‘SP’ model is a rarity. This particular jet was even once part of the PanAm fleet! There are only about 10 flyable aircraft left in the world.
The jet was originally designed for a three-cabin configuration with around 330 people. The Boeing 747SP has the characteristic features of a Boeing 747 but is significantly shorter, features a taller tail for stability. It has a modified wing with a simpler flap design to save weight. The jet was designed in the early 1970s as a way to offer jumbo jet amenities on routes that were too distant for the early Boeing 747-100s and -200s.
Only 45 of the Special Performance version of the 747 were ever built, far below the expectations of Boeing. Of those remaining in service, they primarily serve as VIP aircraft for government officials. Sands resorts also operates two of the type in a VVIP configuration.
The Purchase price won’t be your only expense
While $9M is pretty steep, it is actually relatively cheap for a Boeing 747, especially one that used to be owned by Qatari Royal Flight (that’s the Qatari king’s fleet). The problem is that $9M is just your down payment on this luxurious jet setting lifestyle. From there, you’ll have to consider that filling the jet with 50,000 gallons of Jet-A won’t be cheap. While I’m sure you could negotiate a sweet volume discount, FBO fuel prices at places like LAX run between $6-$7 a gallon. That’s about $300,000 to fill ‘er up not including any landing or parking fees.
Then you have to add in the expenses to pay for the 3 person cockpit crew, cabin crew, maintenance crew, ground support. Catering, lav service, cleaning crew, and flight planning costs add up too. And while the airframe is only about half-way through its service life, you’ll still have to shell out money for engine overalls, regular maintenance, a heavy check or two, and storage fees if you decide to park it for more than a couple of days. Even turning on the APU for an hour just so you have some A/C and a reading light will set you back a few grand. Bottom line is that unless your net worth is north of the mid-9 digits, you’ll probably be eating packaged ramen noodles to afford this beauty even if you were a multi-millionaire before you started this buying spree.
While researching this jet, we came across a fellow avgeek, Sam Chui who was lucky enough last year to fly on this exact jet. He profiled his flight and gave an excellent tour. It’s worth a watch: