A Boeing 747-8 Business Jet (BBJ), considered the most luxurious “Queen of the Skies” aircraft, is being dismantled at Pinal Airpark, Marana, USA. The giant airliner, registered as N458BJ, is the world’s first 747-8 airframe to be dismantled after less than 30 flight hours in service, and only 10 years after being delivered to its owner, AeroTelegraph reported.
The aircraft was expected to become a special aircraft that would operate flights for the Saudi Arabian government, in particular to serve Crown Prince Sultan Abdul Aziz; however, he died in October 2021, nine months before the planned takeoff.
It’s a very large private aircraft. The only operators or buyers tend to be governments and royal families.Connor Diver, senior analyst at aviation analytics firm Cirium
According to data from Planespotters.com, in December 2012, the BBJ was transported to EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg Airport (BSL), located at the border point between France, Germany and Switzerland. where it was scheduled to undergo interior modifications. The move came five months after the aircraft left the Boeing factory.
Since then, there have been several attempts to sell the plane for around $95 million, but all proposals have failed. According to information from Aerotime, the BBJ, which is painted in a white livery, remained parked at BSL Airport for more than a decade, until April 2022, when it was transported to one of the world’s largest aircraft graveyards in the Arizona desert. It was there that its most valuable parts, the four General Electric GEnx turbofan engines, were removed.
According to CNN, Boeing has sold over 250 BBJs, the vast majority of them 737s. “Ten were built in total, and this is the first one retired,” Connor Diver, a senior analyst at aviation analytics firm Cirium told CNN. “It’s not transparent who exactly is buying them, but it’s a very, very large private aircraft and the only operators or buyers tend to be governments and royal families.”
While the plane has not yet been completely dismantled, its ailerons, parts of the tail and fuselage, as well as the rudder, have already been disassembled. The 747-8 had operated only 16 flights and spent just 29 hours in the sky. As of December 2022, a total of nine Boeing 747-8 BBJs remain on active-duty operational flights for the governments of Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Morocco.
According to CNN, the plane went up for sale in 2017 for $95 million, down from an original list price of around $350 million. Its last takeoff from Basel was recorded on video and can be seen online.