Obscene and Ostentatious Wealth

Frank, Robert and Daniel Michaels. 2007. “One ‘World’s Biggest Jet,’ Please: Airbus to Sell Giant A380 to a VIP Customer; $300 Million, Interior Extra.” Wall Street Journal (16 February): p. W 1.

“Now an individual customer is raising the bar, signing up for the largest passenger plane in history. European jet builder Airbus has signed a letter of intent with a Middle East buyer for one of its new A380s, which sell for about $300 million, according to John Leahy, Airbus’s chief commercial officer for customers. Commercial versions of this plane can be configured to seat as many as 853 passengers on two decks. But this buyer, whom Airbus declined to identify, will spend an additional $100 million to turn the craft into a more exclusive conveyance Airbus calls The Flying Palace.”

“New York-based jet-interior expert Edése Doret says he is designing the A380 for the customer, who he says is a head of state. While the jet hasn’t yet been built — Airbus is as much as two years behind schedule for the A380 — Mr. Doret says his plan includes two dining areas, a 600-plus-square-foot master bedroom and a game room. His plans also call for a lounge with giant curtains that will mimic tents of the Arabian desert, and a fiber-optic mosaic that will depict a shifting desert scene. Mr. Doret says he is including a whirlpool tub, believed to be the first in the air. To comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the tub will have a rapid drainage system that can empty the standing water in seconds to a tank in the cargo hold. The plane is also slated to include a missile-defense system, he says.”
“Being says the majority of private buyers for new planes are from the Middle East, but that Americans, Europeans, Russians and Asians are also starting to place orders. The company says seven of its orders from private customers are for Dreamliners, and the other four are for 747-8s, the planned update to its storied jumbo jet.”

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