Flying high

Quite simply, these are the best executive jets money can buy.

Tejaswi Rathoreand Anumeha Chaturvedi | Print Edition: May 4, 2008

Coughing up Rs 200 crore to own a ‘flying palace’ may sound like a very big deal, but an increasing number of men and women around the world are making it look rather easy. India, too, has seen a spurt in the number of very important people who own private jets. Here’s a look at some of the best jets on offer, if money isn’t an object.

Boeing BBJ

Boeing BBJ
The price: Approximately $50 million (Rs 200 crore)

Why it’s among the best: With three times the space of other long-range business jets, the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) provides a luxurious expreince. Designed for corporate and VIP applications, the BBJ combines the size of the 737-700 fuselage. It has a flying range of 6,200 nautical miles and a maximum speed of Mach 0.82 (i.e., 0.82 times the speed of sound in air at sea level). It can fly at 51,000 feet. The BBJ is flexible enough and customers can have a passenger seating area as well as an executive lounge, a private office and stateroom; whatever best suits their specific requirements. These planes can accomodate between eight and 47 passengers, depending on the configuration.

Who owns one: Graeme Hart, a businessman based in New Zealand

Airbus ACJ

The price: Approximately $45 million (Rs 180 crore)

Airbus ACJ
Why it’s among the best: Airbus Corporate Jetliners can efficiently fly intercontinental routes. It has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.82, a flying range of over 6,000 nautical miles and can fly at 51,000 feet. The cabin layout can include executive suites, meeting rooms, a bedroom, a living room and bath. The ACJ provides seating for 19 passengers with 12 first-class seats.

Who owns one: Vijay Mallya, Chairman, UB Group

Embraer Phenom Lineage 1000

Embraer Phenom Lineage 1000
The price: Approximately $40.95 million (Rs 164 crore)

Why It’s among the best: The Embraer Lineage 1000 is a variant of the Embraer 190, and is positoned as a private jet. Manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace firm Embraer, the Lineage is planned to be an “ultra-large” business jet with comfortable seating for 19. The jet also boasts a lavish interior, divided into up to five sections, including an optional bedroom, washroom with running water, and a walk-in cargo area at the rear. With a speed of 0.65 Mach, it has a range of over 5,000 nautical miles and can fly at 51,000 feet.

Who owns one: Falcon Aviation Services, Abu Dhabi

Gulfstream V

Gulfstream V
The price: Approximately $38 million (Rs 152 crore)

Why it’s among the best: This ultra-long range jet is the the largest and latest development of the Gulfstream line of corporate transports, designed to fly intercontinental distances. With an astonishing non-stop range of 6,500 nautical miles, the Gulfstream V offers unparalleled performance at 51,000 feet. The Gulfstream can accommodate 12-15 passengers and comes equipped with a crew rest room, a business work station, a dining/ conference area with seating for four, a three seat couch that converts into a bed and five other reclining seat. It has a maximum speed of over 0.80 Mach.

Who owns one: Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

Bombardier global express

Bombardier global express
The price: Approximately $46 million (Rs 184 crore)

Why it’s among the best: Flying at altitudes of up to 51,000 feet (15,545 m), this high-performance aircraft has exceptional range: it can carry eight passengers and a crew of four across 5,450-6,500 nautical miles at the speeds Mach 0.85 and Mach 0.87. Superb, short-field capabilities allow it to opearte out of most challenging airfields, saving valuable executive hours and getting you even closer to your destination. From a wellappointed stateroom with its own amenities, to the separate and generous main cabin, ample galley and dedicated crew rest area, the jet has it all. In addition to its long-range capabilities, the Global Express requires only eight hours to fly from Mumbai to Paris, making it without doubt, one of the fastest in the business. It can fly at over 51,000 feet.

Who owns one: Steven Spielberg, a well-known filmmaker

Dassault Falcon 7X

Dassault Falcon 7X
The price: Approximately $35 million (Rs 140 crore)

Why it’s among the best: The defining features of the Dassault 7X are its high speed, innovative wings and the three-engine design. The Falcon 7X is designed to fly 5,950 nautical miles with eight passengers, plus a crew of four. The Mach 0.90 maximum operating speed will ensure you reach your destination quickly. It can fly at over 45,000 feet.

Who owns one: French Operator Unijet

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