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Royal Junk: Brand-New, Custom $300 Million Boeing 747-8 Arrives at Scrapyard

This could be the aviation equivalent of an automotive barn find: a brand-new, presumably fully furnished Boeing 747-8, commissioned and customized for royalty and abandoned for a full decade, has re-emerged. It is now parked at a U.S. scrapyard, presumably for part-out.
N458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight ever 10 photos
N458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight everN458BJ, a privately-owned custom Boeing 747-8 that was hardly used, prepares for takeoff for its last flight ever
Delivered in 2012 to the Saudi Arabian Royal Flight group for the personal use of prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, N458BJ was never even used as it was meant to. The Boeing 747-8 was ordered new, but that was never enough for royal heads, so it was sent for a full VIP refit.

The Sultan passed away before the customization was complete, so the jumbo jet was abandoned – and seemingly forgotten – at the Basel airport in Switzerland for a full decade. N458BJ only ever clocked 42 hours of flight time, which, according to Simple Flying, is what a commercial airline totals in a matter of days and a private jet in weeks – and they consisted mostly of test flights.

Last week, the 2012 Boeing took off for what will most likely become its final flight, arriving at the Pinal Airpark in the Marana desert 11 hours later. The video below shows the final takeoff of this brand-new, majestic aircraft that never got put to proper usage, but which is believed to have cost over $300 million.

Pinal Airpark is a single-runway airfield outside of Tucson, Arizona, which also happens to be one of the most famous aircraft graveyards in the world and, because of it, home of some of the most iconic flying machines ever. The same media outlet notes that N458BJ is probably scheduled for part-out, which means it will be disassembled and sold piece by piece.

There is a chance that it might be repurposed if Boeing buys it back, and the move to the U.S. could be indicative of such an intent. However, even if Boeing does buy it back, there is little interest in such a large aircraft right now for commercial purposes, since the international health crisis sealed the fate of the 747 as a commercial plane.

At the 3.16-minute mark, the Boeing 747-8 registration number N458BJ takes off from Basel, Switzerland, destination Pinal Airpark. The place where jumbo jets go to die.



 
 
 
 
 

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