In the world of private aircrafts, money is no object. Considering that even the cheapest of private jets will cost around $2 million, this is certainly a game for the 1% of the population. When you start going into the higher side of the cost bracket, you start seeing some really insane things. Jets that can act like airborne boardrooms, stone flooring, and wood veneers that are fancier than you can imagine. Today, we’ll be focusing on the most expensive private jet in the world and what features it offers that justify its price tag.
Cost of buying a private jet
Before we get into the most expensive private jet, let’s first have a look into the different categories that exist in private aircrafts and how they are differentiated from each other. Private jets are broadly divided into 3 categories: Light, Medium, and Heavy. These categories allude to the relative size of the aircraft. Each category offers some advantage over the others. Light aircrafts are known for their relatively better fuel efficiency and lower cost compared to heavier jets. While heavy aircrafts are known for their no-compromise approach to luxury and provide a much more comfortable experience. For a lot of people, medium aircrafts might actually be the best choice simply because they can offer the best of both worlds. They do not completely compromise luxury for lower cost and are able to achieve a healthy balance between the two.
Light jets can cost anything from $2 million to $8 million and are the most cost-effective option out of the three. They can cover journeys up to a range of 1500 miles. For people with a budget of $10 to $20 million, medium jets are the default choice. They also have a healthy boost in terms of the range as well since they generally have a range close to 2000 miles. For ultimate luxury, heavy jets are the only option. They start at over $20 million and can run to half a billion dollars for some hyper customized aircraft made for insanely wealthy people. The jets in the upper echelons of the category ($100 million+) are generally commercial aircrafts that have been converted into private jets.
Renting vs buying
The choice between renting and buying an aircraft is dependent on the use of the aircraft. Buying an aircraft is a big commitment especially when you consider the associated costs. These include the salaries of the staff, depreciation costs, and the cost of maintaining an aircraft. People who are going to be flying 50 to 100 hours per year are not recommended to be investing in an aircraft since the associated costs will far outrun the advantages of owning an aircraft at this level of usage. However, for people who are traveling over 100 hours, buying a private aircraft starts to make a bit more sense.
What is the most expensive private jet in the world?
The most expensive private jet in the world is Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud’s Airbus A380 at a cost of a whopping $500 million! Everyone knows about the fabulous oil wealth of the Saudis which has propelled the Saudi royal family into being one of the richest families in the world at a total net worth of around $1.4 trillion. This makes them the richest royal family in the world and one of the richest families overall as well. To put their wealth into perspective, Russia’s GDP stands at $1.43 trillion. Considering these absolutely insane numbers, the lavish lifestyle and spending of the Saudi royal family start to make a bit more sense. Now, we can come back to this amazing aircraft that is worth nearly half a billion.
The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger airliner in the world. With a maximum capacity of 853 passengers, it is an absolute behemoth. The amenities of this aircraft are numerous. It has a garage that can transport the Saudi royal’s luxury cars without a hitch. The plane’s boardroom has a table that can act as a touchscreen. It’s divided into 3 floors and the 3 floors can be accessed through a lift. The aircraft also contains four luxury suites that are large and spacious containing king-sized beds that one can imagine to be quite comfortable. Perhaps one of the most beautiful features is the spiral staircase that takes you to the boardroom. Constructed with the latest aesthetic trends in mind, the overall design of the airplane cabin oozes luxury.
This is where the twist comes in. The Airbus A380 never made it into the hands of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The whole event is shrouded in mystery and there are still a lot of things that are simply not publicly known. However, it is known that Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud ordered the plane in 2007 when he was flush with cash. A lot of these features that we have mentioned before never turned into reality because the plane never materialized. According to a forbes article, the Prince’s original plan was to buy the plane and then flip it for a higher price to another buyer. However, the financial crash of 2008 severely affected the prince whose core asset, Citigroup shares, started plummeting in value due to the global crash in motion at that time. He defaulted on several payments to Airbus that he was supposed to make. In March 2008, a deal to sell the plane to Chartwell Aviation fell through because they offered $268 million for the plane while Al Waleed quoted a price of $300 for the plane. By 2013, the plane had been sold. The buyer’s name was not disclosed, and no further details have come to light. The latest news on this phantom A380 is that the plane is still sitting on Airbus property in France.
And this is the story of the most expensive private jet in the world. That title might be misleading to some extent as the plane’s internal decoration never materialized and even the reported price of $500 million is not confirmed at this point. The prince’s plans of selling the plane for a profit to another buyer fell through and he must have lost some money through this entire ordeal. However, the fantastic view of the largest airplane in the world being redressed as a private jet for royalty and having amenities that were so insane that they felt almost ‘debaucherously’ ridiculous is still worth something. Everything from the throne of the prince to the spiral staircase ended up being real in just renders. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t dream a little sometimes and fantasize about this could-have-been palace with wings.