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UPDATED: Who Owns This Boeing 747-8 VIP? A Mystery at Paine Field

Mystery 747-8 VIP (VQ-BSK) parked at the fuel dock at the Boeing Factory in Everett. Photo Mal Muir /

Who does the newest Boeing 747-8 VIP seen at Paine Field belong to? I am not sure, but I have to say I love the livery.

As the 747-8 program continues to produce aircraft, the majority of these have been freighters (747-8F). Of the passenger variants (the 747-8 Intercontinental) only one airline has taken delivery of the type: Lufthansa. All the rest, with the longer upper decks (Freighter’s are shorter), have been sold as Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) to private buyers, or governments, marketed as the 747-8 VIP.

The First 747-8 VIP Departs Everett Bound for Vancouver. Photo David Parker Brown, Airline Reporter

The first delivery of a 747-8I was painted only in white. It was flown over the border to Vancouver, BC, then on to Wichita, Kansas before ending up at Lufthansa Technik in Germany for the rest of the interior installation. Even though there have been no official confirmations from Boeing or Qatar, it is widely assumed the aircraft belongs to the state of Qatar, who operates a fleet of diverse aircraft.

The 747-8 VIP painted for the State of Kuwait – Photo David Parker Brown, Airline Reporter

More recently, the first 747-8I unveiled, which was painted in the Sunrise Livery has been repainted and delivered its new owner. Once again, neither Boeing nor any government identity has confirmed it, but one can assume that this aircraft was for the State of Kuwait (see photo above and decide for yourself).

The Logo Adorning the tail of this Mystery 747-8 VIP – Photo Mal Muir, Airline Reporter

The newest Boeing 747-8 VIP came out of the paint hangar with a mysterious livery on December 1st. Rumors have flown about who might own this plane. Boeing Business Jet is not able to confirm who owns the aircraft, respecting the wishes of the customer.

However, the logo and registration number might provide some clues. The first VIP Intercontinental flew out with an A7 registration, which showed the plane was registered in Qatar. The newest aircraft is registered VQ-BSK. VQ is Bermuda based and not in Qatar, like A7. This adds to the mystery of the aircraft.

Also, most of the aircraft in the Qatar Amiri Fleet wear a very similar livery to Qatar Airways, which this plane obviously does not. The logo on the tail first struck me as something from the Middle East. After some additional research, I found, it is actually the logo for the “State of Qatar.”

Boeing 747SP (VP-BAT) which shares a very similar livery. Photo by Robin Kearney / Flickr CC.

Boeing 747SP (VP-BAT) which shares a very similar livery. Photo by Robin Kearney / Flickr CC.

Then you have the Boeing 747SP (VP-BAT), as seen above, in a very similar livery. This plane is also registered in Bermuda and is assumed to have belonged to Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, who was deposed at the ruler of Qatar in 1995, but returned in 2004.

Could this new 748 VIP be Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani’s new personal jet? Is this aircraft the first “official” 747-8 VIP of the Qatar Amiri Fleet with a new livery? Is it destined for the Amiri Fleet and registered in Bermuda for reasons unknown? Or is it destined to someone else affiliated with the state of Qatar?

It seems that the biggest game at Everett at the moment is: Who owns this 747-8 VIP and can I get a ride?

Story will continue to be updated. Thanks to Steven Frischling for additional background information.

This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.

@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos

13 comments to UPDATED: Who Owns This Boeing 747-8 VIP? A Mystery at Paine Field

  • Patrick

    “Mysterious” to whom? This is the Qatari Amiri Flight. I realise you want to get an angle for your story, but it’s not exactly a mystery.

    See, for example, this 747SP:

    You’ll note that it’s registered in Bermuda too.

  • Gordon Werner

    it is owned and will be operated by the Qatar Amiri Flight.

  • Luke

    If you look up the country code painted on the side of the fuselage, you will find that the designator VQ-B is the I.C.A.O. code for Bermuda.

  • andy

    It also seems that Qatari Amiri has 2 747-8 BBJ on order.
    The question is not who this is owned by – but is it normal for Qatari Amiri to register aircraft in Bermuda or other countries besides Qatar?

    As an editorial note – it is usual for blogs or other online publications to publish updates at the top of the article with a date/time stamp. Why does Airline Reporter not do this?

  • Felipe

    That is a Qatar Amiri plane. The Qatar Amiri fleet already has planes with different livery. For example the one used by Sheika Mozza is all white with just a silver band, and her initials “HHM”, Her Highness Mozza” (A7-HHM):

  • Mark

    All Amiri owned/operated aircraft are on the Qatar civil register i.e. A7-,the majority of which are in Qatar A/W colours.
    VP-BAT,the 747SP is owned by Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani and operated on his behalf by World Wide Aviation services.It hasn’t been an Amiri aircraft for many many years.It is mainly used to ferry his daughter to and from the UK as she is at University here. The 747-8 pictured is the replacement and will be operated on a similar arrangement to BAT,though unlikely to be based at Bournemouth as BAT currently is.

  • Louey C

    VQ-BSK is to be based at Bournemouth and the old “Basco” hangar has been acquired by its owner and work has just started on an extension to accommodate the new 748 BBJ.
    It is reported due in 1 year from now.

    747SP VP-BAT will also remain at Bournemouth for his daughter’s use and will use the Cobham hangar currently leased.

  • Mike

    This is the aircraft that the Qataris are due to give to the Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

    Diplomatic Corp – Qatar

  • cant say

    I work at L3 in waco texas…. We have two 747-VIP BBJ’s in our hanger. One is for king of bahrain and the other is for the government of qatar

  • Van

    There is a 747 BBJ with this tail insignia here in San Antonio, TX @ the Boeing Facility @ Port San Antonio (old Kelly AFB) It has been here almost 3 years now.

  • Van

    The tail number on this aircraft is VQ-BSK

  • Evan

    This plane landed at Tampa International Airport (Tampa, Fl) an was here for 3 hours… Mind blowin on why someone from Qatar land at TIA and not at MacDill AFB where CentCom is!

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