Buy Your Own (Japanese) Air Force One

Aug 15, 2019

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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.

Japanese Emperor Akihito (back centre L) and Empress Michiko (back centre R) walk up to a special plane at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on November 30, 2013. The Japanese royal couple left Tokyo for India on November 30, starting the first-ever official visit there by a Japanese emperor. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko board one of the VIP 747s at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on November 30, 2013, on the way to India for the first-ever official visit there by a Japanese emperor. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)


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.

(Photo courtesy of CSDS)
(Photo courtesy of CSDS)


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.

(Photo courtesy of CSDS)
(Photo courtesy of CSDS)

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.

(Photo courtesy of CSDS)
(Photo courtesy of CSDS)

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.

(Photo courtesy of CSDS)
(Photo courtesy of CSDS)


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.

Featured image courtesy of CSDS. 

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