Often I am asked what some of my favorite aviation experiences has been. No question, being able to fly in a Boeing 737-700 Business Jet from Boeing Field (BFI) to Anchorage (ANC) was one of those moments.
I have previously shared in the trip in great detail on a previous story, but I haven’t yet shared my video. Although the back of the plane is quite something, I was more interested in being able to sit in the flight deck during takeoff and again during landing. I have never had that experience before in a large jet and what else can I say other than… it was amazing.
Yes, my trip was almost a year ago, but I got held up with the video – at least I get to spread the BBJ love! My only regret is not wearing the top hat in the flight deck – maybe next time.
A ride like this deserves a top hat. BBJ parked at Boeing Field and me ready to fly.
BOEING BUSINESS JET 737 REVIEW BASICS
Airline: Haha, who flies on airlines?
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700 BBJ1
Departed: King County International Airport [aka Boeing Field] (BFI)
Arrived Airport: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
Class: Yes, there was lots of class
Seat: Jump seat, big chair, nice couch, bed and another big chair.
Length: About 3 hours.
Cheers: Too many to list. It also gave me an excuse to purchase and wear a top hat. Jeers: I had to get off. Overall: If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. Also, if you do, can I have a ride?
Mystery 747-8 VIP (VQ-BSK) parked at the fuel dock at the Boeing Factory in Everett. Photo Mal Muir / AirlineReporter.com
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 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.
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.
The exterior of the new Boeing Business Jet 737. Hi-Res, click for larger. Photo from Boeing.
The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) is one awesome machine. The airplane is a 737-700 with the wings and landing gear from the 737-800. This provides the ability to carry up to nine fuel tanks and gives the aircraft additional range. The biz jet is capable of going up to 5,600 nautical miles at Mach 0.80. Yea, all the facts are interesting, but what interests me the most are the photos of this aircraft.
The first version of the new BBJ was delivered to a private businessman from the US in early March after it went through interior modifications at Jet Tech, located in Spokane, WA.
Not too shabby. The interior of 737 BBJ. Hi-Res Image: click for larger. Photo by Boeing.
This BBJ is the second for the customer. “Our repeat customers aren’t limited to governments and charter companies, but include private individuals who love the comfort and capability of their BBJ so much, they buy another one,” said Captain Steve Taylor, BBJ president.
The master bedroom of this 737 BBJ. Hi-Res photo: click for larger. Photo by Boeing.
This aircraft is configured to carry only 19 passengers. Knowing that the commercial version can be configured to carry up to 149 passengers, that means this BBJ has plenty of space for each person.
According to Boeing, the aircraft, “has all the amenities of a home including a large personal stateroom with a king-size bed, private lavatory and shower. It also has a smaller guest stateroom with divans that convert into beds enabling the BBJ to sleep up to 8 passengers.”
One could get a lot of good cooking done in this kitchen in the BBJ 737. Hi-Res Image: click for larger. Image by Boeing.
In the well appointed kitchen, there is island, convection/microwave ovens, a refrigerator, wine cooler and trash compactor — not too shabby.
The BBJ starts out at $57million, which is not cheap and will that will only get you the airplane. Most customers will spend an additional $20-25million on the VIP interior. Of course, this is chump change compared to get the Boeing 747-8VIP, which is listed at about $300million and costs, on average, $140-250million for the interior. Better start saving now.
Could you imagine having your very own Boeing 787 Boeing Business Jet to fly around the world in? Photo: Liz Matzelle
If you have your own plane I am jealous. Even if it is just an older Cessna 172, having your own plane to fly around in (or be flown around in) makes you rock. Even though any plane is a good thing, some personal planes are better than others. Sure, there are many different aircraft manufacturers that build multi-million dollar private jets for private citizens of the world to be flown around in style, but if you are going to do it, why not go all out? When conducting research, I realized there are currently 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 8 Boeing 747-8 Intercontinentals that are on order by private parties. Say what? Who needs such planes? Well normally either charter companies, governments or super dooper VIP’s will purchase these aircraft.
I contacted Boeing and turns out that all 8 of the 747-8I’s are for government purchasers. Even though not a bad ride at all, having a government purchase an aircraft is not as impressive as an individual. Out of the 12 VIP Boeing 787 Dreamliners currently on order, 2 are for charters, 4 are for governments and 6 are for private owners. Whoa! Of course Boeing can’t talk about who the owners are, but maybe I can try to talk to them myself. Here is an open letter to the six fine people who have enough taste (and money) to purchase one of these airplanes:
Dear Boeing Business Jet 787 Dreamliner Purchaser:
First of all I want to say congratulations for being at a point in life where you can afford your very own Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. I know myself and many others around the world envy your ability to buy such a machine and I salute your great taste in aircraft. As I am sure you know the Dreamliner is the next generation of airliner and one beautiful machine. I know it probably has been hard waiting to take your first flight with all the delays, but let me assure you, it will be worth it. I am sure you are use to the finest things in life and the VIP 787 Dreamliner will be no different.
If you are a person who loves to share unique experiences with others I would be honored to get a tour, maybe even a ride in your soon-to-be-delivered VIP Boeing aircraft. Sure you might have people from large-named TV shows who want to check out your plane for a show like “Check Out My Expensive Ride,” but they are looking for ratings. I would love to share your passion for beautiful planes with the world in a unique way.
You join only five others around the world to have such an amazing aircraft and I only hope you might want to share a bit of that with others. Thank you for your time and I hope you have an amazing year.
David Parker Brown