Buy Your Own (Japanese) Air Force One
If you've ever wanted to travel like a world leader, now's your chance.
One of the two Boeing 747-400s that used to fly Japan's prime ministers and even the emperor himself is up for grabs, for a relatively cheap $28 million.
According to Benedict Sirimanne, president of CSDS Aircraft Sales and Leasing, which is selling the plane, the 747 is currently in Marana, Arizona, and will undergo some renovations before the sale is finalized.
CSDS is refitting the Emperor's Bedroom and installing a new shower.
Once that work is completed, the former Japanese Air Force One, now registered as N7474C in the US, will undergo a so-called C-check — the most thorough deep maintenance short of a D-check, which involves essentially disassembling the airplane and putting it back together — and be repainted.
According to a third-party listing of the sale, the plane was built in 1991 and has flown just over 16,000 hours, making it "one of the lowest time Boeing 747-400s in the world." Hours flown, or cycles — with one cycle equaling a takeoff and landing — are the airplane equivalent of miles on used cars.
In its current configuration, the plane seats about 85 people, compared to around 400 that a commercial 747-400 would usually carry. Some of those 85 seats are in a 2-3-2 layout, typical of business class a few years ago; others are in a layout equivalent to commercial economy class. Those non-VIP sections were typically used by the entourage and press.
A second former Japanese Air Force One, now registered in the US as N7477C, is undergoing conversion to a cargo plane. That process will take about a year, and CSDS will list the plane for sale when the work is finished.