• Flying Carpets Burn Oil

Original post 2/11/07 (see update below)

Luxurious flying palaces based on Boeing airliners are enjoyed by private and business customers in the Middle East and around the world.

Over 100 of the 737-based Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) aircraft have been sold since 1999, with prices starting around $45 million—and that's before you spend another $15 million for minor add-ons such as seats.

But, oh, those seats. Lots of knee room is available when money is no object as shown is the proposed 787 cabin arrangement. Part of the cabin, that is.

747VIPs are available for $272-282 million (plus interior), but they're all sold out until 2012. The next 787VIP isn't available until 2016, if you want one. Order now! Operators are standing by!

Either way, you'll never have to endure a red-eye flight sandwiched in the middle, with a toddler screaming behind you and kicking the back of your seat. You can snooze your way across the Atlantic in peace, or join the Six Mile High club in style.

So far wealthy individuals have purchased all the 787 VIPs. Government heads of state make up three quarters of the BBJ customer base. The other quarter is split between corporate operators and charter companies.

Update 5/21/08

The May 19, 2008 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology reports continued hot demand for VVIP business jets now including the new Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A380.

Where's the the most activity? Why Middle East, of course (and Russia, India, Brazil and China). Last November Airbus announced the first A380 sale to a Saudi prince, and two letters of intent from the United Arab Emirates. Boeing says it has orders for eight 787s and four 747-8s.

In fact, completion centers are scrambling to build hangar space, and have been forced to turn away piddly narrow body aircraft work even as they try to figure out where to put the 20-25 BBJ/ACJs they alrady agreed to receive in the next four years.

Here's a A380 dining room concept from Lufthansa Technik. Can't tell from the image if it's upstairs or downstairs. But then it might be just the informal cafe, not the formal dining room.



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