Being a president, or any head of state, has its perks. Aside from leading a country, getting great benefits, and having your own security, you also get to have your own private airplane. The best part of all is that, it would be paid for by the State for official out of town businesses.
How much exactly does a State need to shell out to give its own head of state his or her own airplane? Here are some of the world’s most expensive airplanes that are used by heads of states all over the world.
The Ilyushin Il-96-300PU of Russia
The Russian presidential aircraft is perhaps not the most expensive, but it certainly is not cheap, as well. The Ilyushin IL-96-300 aircraft itself is priced at $40 million, at least. However, this amount still excludes the amount of the interior fittings for the luxurious aircraft.
The four-engined wide body, the Ilyushin has its last two letters standing for “Command Point” in Russian. Although the Ilyushin IL-96 is 30% cheaper than other aircrafts of the same specifications, the Russian aircraft especially used for the Russian president is highly-customized, with state-of-the-art communications systems, safety features and luxurious interiors. Presumably, the modifications along already cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
In 2012, the report claims that the Russian President Putin had the Ilyushin jet modified for around $180 million, including an $80,000-dollar lavatory.
Taiwan’s Air Force Boeing 737-800
The presidential jet of Taiwan is just an ordinary Boeing 737, with no special fittings or interior design. However, the only accessory it has on board is a satellite communication system that allows the president to give instructions despite being in flight.
The Italian VIP Fleet
Italy uses three Airbus Corporate Jets for use of the head of state, and the two others for other government officials. One of them is specifically designed for the Prime Minister or the President. Such jets cost around $200 to $220 million.
The French Presidential Aircraft Airbus A330-200
The Airbus A330-200 is a longer-range variant of the Airbus. The aircraft itself is priced at $200.8 million. In 2010, the French government acquired the aircraft for around $240 million, which includes the refitting of the plane to ensure the French president’s safety and comfort.
The plane has been converted to a conference room, with around 60 VIP seats. It also has a presidential suite, complete with a shower. Likewise, his traveling party would be able to surf the Internet at 10,000 meters above. It also has a missile decoy system, and an encrypted communications system to allow private communication between the president and his advisors.
The Brazilian Air Force One
The main aircraft for the Brazilian president is a modified Airbus A319. The Airbus alone costs around $81 million. It has the code VC-1A, and is officially named as the Santos-Dumont.
The plane is divided into three parts. The first one is solely for the president, including an office, a meeting room, a security room and the security suite. The second has 20 seats for VIPs, and the third has seats for other passengers, such as media people or journalists.
The plane has simple interiors, with wooden tables and leather seats. It also has an enclosed shower, marble lavatories, and a fully-functioning office where the Brazilian president can confidentially converse with his advisors, whether they are with him on board or they are on land.
The King of Saudi Arabia’s Boeing 747 (and the Prince’s Airbus A380)
Being the King and the Head of State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, current King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may have inherited his predecessor’s Boeing 747. The former King Fahd purchased the $228 million Boeing 747 jet for his personal use. The said aircraft was reported to have a fountain equipped on board, as well as around $150 million worth of interior fittings.
However, Saudi Arabia is known to have luxurious aircrafts fit for princes and kings. In 2007, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bought an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, for his own use. Customized fittings cost around $200 million, making this grand ‘flying palace’ aircraft’s cost to over $520 million dollars.
The interior fittings include a parking space for his Rolls Royce, a concert hall with a grand piano, a marble-tiled steam room, five master bedrooms with king-sized beds, private bathrooms and showers, 20 smaller private rooms, and even a private elevator, which connects the master bedroom to the tarmac.
Emir of Kuwait, Airbus A340-500
The A340-500 is considered as one of the world’s longest-range aircraft. It has four engines, can handle up to 475 passengers, and costs $245 million.
Before April of 2013, the Emir used a Boeing 747. However, due to security reasons, he uses an Airbus A340-500 with military defense. The Crown Prince of Kuwait also uses the aircraft. Given the military-grade safety of the Emir’s Airbus, the fittings may presumably also cost over hundreds of millions of dollars.
Air Force One 325M (Boeing VC25)
The United States’ Air Force One is one of the world’s most popular presidential aircraft in the world. However, the tech specifications go beyond its famous name, as there’s a beast hidden under the famous blue and white exterior.
The Boeing VC-25 alone costs $325 million, and there are only two units built specially for the Air Force One. The First Lady Nancy Reagan did the interiors. It has three decks, and 4,000 sq. feet of its space is reconfigured specially for presidential duties. It includes “The White House”, which is at the front of the aircraft. It includes an executive suite with sleeping quarters, a lavatory, a shower, couches that can be made into beds, and a double sink. It is nicknamed “The Oval Office aboard Air Force One”.
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