The specialized media have been reporting that the Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud could have bought from Airbus, the world’s largest manufacturer of aircraft and aerospace equipment, a personalized Airbus A380 at the exorbitant cost of $500 million.
The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger aircraft in the industry, with a maximum capacity of about 600 passengers. This was the model chosen by the Saudi prince, owner of the investment company Kingdom Holdings of London, as his new private jet, equipped with the luxury and comfort to which he is accustomed. The price of a regular A380 is estimated at $350 million, but Alwaleed, ranked by Forbes magazine as the 26th richest man in the world, could have decided to spend $150 million more in renovations, making this particular A380 the largest and most expensive private jet in the world. (Azzam, the world’s largest private yacht).
Although the price of this super plane is only speculative and has not been officially confirmed, it is worthwhile to list some of the amenities His Highness Prince Alwaleed could have requested. The luxurious features that have leaked to the press include:
• A parking space for the Rolls Royce the prince uses in his travels.
• A suite with a king size canopy bed and a fully equipped private bathroom.
• Five first class guest rooms.
• A steam room with marble finishes.
• A mini spa.
• A prayer room technologically equipped with prayer rugs that automatically change their position towards Mecca.
• A concert hall with a grand piano and 10 seats for the audience.
• A meeting room with holographic screen.
• A spiral staircase and an elevator to communicate the three levels of the huge jet.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
These eccentric and luxurious facilities may be mythical, but what has been officially released (though with some reluctance) are some photos posted by Edese Doret, the design firm that handled the jet´s remodeling, featuring a luxurious dining room with space for 14 guests and an adjoining lounge with stunning leather sofas and chrome chairs. “It’s not only the most luxurious aircraft, but it also reflects the cultural values and status of its owner,” unveiled the design firm.
Other information that has caused controversy over the billionaire prince´s jet is its price. According to reports from Forbes sources, the prince would have purchased the plane with serial number 002, a second hand aircraft heavier than the new version of the A380, which weighs around 361 tonnes.
According to other undisclosed sources, the aircraft could have been sold for $130 million and the extreme renovations, such as the steam room, concert hall and meeting rooms, could have never been undertaken.
In any case, for now it will be difficult to know the final price of this flying palace or its amenities since both Airbus and the prince have forbidden the dissemination of this information. The fact is that the A380 exists, and it is, indeed, the world’s largest private jet. ■