x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The flight of fancy for top VIPs

From the outside, this jet looks like any other Boeing 737, beloved of every low-fare carrier worldwide. Step inside however, and prepare for luxury and comfort.

Ordinary people do not get to fly on Boeing Business Jets (BBJs). Only high net-worth individuals and their entourages, the odd business mogul or summit-bound diplomats.

With six BBJs, Royal Jet is the world's largest independent operator of the aircraft.

Looking at one on the ground, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. It looks just like any other Boeing 737, beloved of every low-fare carrier worldwide.

Step inside, however, and the 25-plus rows of seats six abreast have been replaced by sofas, a couple of loungers and further in, an office, king-size bedroom and bathroom with shower.

The cabin has more square footage than some offices - 807 square feet - all carpeted and lacquered wood finish, and room for 15 passengers. Any more and you might take the edge off the luxury.

"Truly, the BBJ lacks nothing. No other private jet offers as much cabin space. For those that can afford it, it is the epitome of everything that could be desired in a private jet," said Jet Advisors, an independent private jet advisory service.

What they mean by "afford it" is difficult to pin down. That would depend on the finish. Royal Jet plans to rearrange the furniture on one of its BBJs this year at a cost of US$9m (Dh33m). Jet Advisors said a ballpark figure for a BBJ was in the region of $68m.

dblack@thenational.ae

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