Qatar’s Flying Palace on Sale, Could Dwindling Economy be the Reason

Qatar

Last week, Qatar put its most treasured airplane, the flying palace on open market for sale.  The exclusively customised plane, VVIP 747-8i BBJ, flew less than 1,100 total flight hours on the airframe and below 300 cycles. The Qatari pride put for auction is a hard sell as even for the richest of the lot buying it would mean a significant amount of investment as it is undoubtedly one of the most expensive and opulent aircraft on the market. 

According to the company’s records, the full customisation of this luxury aircraft took two years. To get a peek into this vehicle which only carried Qatari Royal Family members and other top government officials as its guest, click https://www.controller.com/listings/aircraft/for-sale/195137255/2012-boeing-747-8i

Many speculated the rising economic crisis in the country as the reason the Qatar Amiri Flight was getting rid of 37075, though no official word is out yet. But the country’s other 747-8i BBJs are very much in service. In 2010, the regime sold one of its Flight’s 747-8i BBJ to the Moroccan government. Besides, two years ago the Gulf nation gave other 747-8i BBJ Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a reward of sorts in response to Ankara’s support to Al Thani’s regime, when the country was boycotted by the GCC for financing terror activities and facilitating money laundering.

The country known for its wide range of flights is not only getting rid of its white elephant but also asked airplane manufacturers to delay its previous orders over payment issues. Last month, in a telephonic conversation, Akbar Al Baker, Qatar airways CEO told media about the financial burden the country’s aviation industry was facing. He said, “We are negotiating with both Boeing and Airbus to fulfil our requirement to defer and we hope that both the manufacturers will oblige.” He added, “They have no other alternative to oblige and if they make it difficult to oblige we will keep them in mind and we will not do business with them again.” 

The Gulf nation entered an economic slump due to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak which caused global lockdown, shutting all the business activities in the country. Akbar Al Baker told Bloomberg that the travel industry would take “around two to three years to get back to 2019 levels… I think I would be very surprised if things will happen before 2023/2024.”

Besides the nation has also been burning its reserves in construction of massive football stadiums to host World Football, 2022; so much so that many of those construction companies were not even able pay its workers for about 6 months, leaving them in a miserable condition. As per an extensive investigation, carried out between March 2018 and July 2019, the Amnesty International unveiled the case of three companies –Hamad bin Khaled bin Hamad (HKH), United Cleaning and Hamton International (Hamton) – which in total employed over 2,000 workers who had not received their salaries for months and about 1,620 of those workers even submitted complaints to the new Committees asking for compensation but in vain.

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