Sunday, 19 August 2018

Is this the best business jet in the world?

Forget your Cessna Citation, your Honda Jet or your Gulfstream G550, this business jet is head and shoulders above those and countless others on the market. There is little doubt this business jet it is the height of airborne luxury, that affords more space per 76 passengers than any other aircraft in the sky.  It's got the plushest of leather seats, the plumpest of king size beds, a fourteen place dining table, an office that rivals that of Air Force One, a bathroom that is as big as our office - in fact, its got 10 of them! It's also got a number of staterooms or lounges, comes complete with the latest entertainment system from Panasonic to ensure you'll never be bored in your flying palace. 

This business jet also has its own mini-hospital should you get a scrape or a headache or something a little more serious. There are three galleys and work areas giving the 18 strong crew plenty of space to cater for your every whim. 

Unlike most business jet's this one has four engines and a range of more than 9000 miles. It is just a couple of inches over  250 feet long and 63½ feet high and cruises along at over 900 kilometres an hour. It is a Boeing 747-8 BBJ (Boeing Business Jet) its commercial counterparts regularly carry more than 400 people, so this much much bigger than most business jets you'll see at the airport. 

This particular aircraft, registration VQ-BSK, came off the production line in 2012, then was fitted with one of the most luxurious cabins imaginable, complete with handmade carpets and a secret safe room for a couple of years by plane-maker Boeing. Finally, in 2015 it entered service transporting Very Very Important People and since it was new, it's only done around 200 flights and less than 437 flying hours, so hardly used at all. 

One of the main reasons this aircraft has had so little air time in the last three or so years is that it's one careful owner has been Amiri Flight, the private VVIP airline that operates exclusively for the Royal Family and high ranked government staff of the State of Qatar. So the list of passengers permitted to fly in this business jet is rather small and very exclusive, plus Amiri Flight has a large fleet consisting of 3 A319-100s, 3 A320-200s, 2 A330-200s, 1 A310-300, 1 A340-200, 1 A340-300, 1 A340-500 and 1 Boeing 747-8 BBJ. 

Taking a look around the aircraft, we're rather taken with the decor, whilst it is undioubtedly luxurious, it is also tasteful, it has a rather understated opulence rather than a brash 'in your face' gaudy appearance you find on so many other private jets. Sure it won't please everyone, Ben Schlappi  rather snootily questions if this is "really the best decor they could come up with in 2015? This looks more 80s-Arabian-chic-meets-the-Love-Boat". Yet others will adore the sleak lines, the subtle ostentation exuding from the lounges and seating areas. "This is a fine example of classy luxury blending with a functional form that embraces the sentiment of the old adage, 'less is more' " Said our chief aviation correspondent, Jason Shaw.  "The cabin interior looks fresh and restful and instead of filling it with overblown expressions of excessive wealth, they have delicately allowed the space to be used as space and just employed a gentle and restrained pallet." Designer Robert Ambridge shared with us. 

I think we'll need to club together to buy it, for it is certainly more than the £4.51 we've got left in office petty cash tin, for this aircraft is currently in Zurich, Switzerland and up for sale. So, if you've got a few hundred million stashed under your mattress, then this mechanical bird of paradise could very well be yours.  Full details are on where these photos come from.