Qatar gives BBJ 747-8 to Turkey


According to reports in the Turkish media, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamin bin Hama Al Thani has ‘gifted’ a Boeing BBJ 747-8 to Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Built in 2012, Boeing BBJ 747-8 VQ-BSK / MSN 42096 was delivered to Qatar in 2015, after having its interior completed by Greenpoint Technologies at San Antonio, TX.

In airline service the aircraft could seat up to 400 passengers, but the VVIP conversion has seating for just 76 passengers and 18 crew.

The front of the aircraft boasts a VIP state room. Further back there is a main deck lounge and a separate conference room. At the rear of the aircraft there is a world-class medical room, along with a guest bedroom.

Before being handed over to Turkey the BBJ 747-8 had been one of three of the type in the Qatar Amiri Flight fleet.

Unlike the other two aircraft, VQ-BSK was registered in Bermuda. The other two aircraft are registered in Qatar with A7- marks.

The Boeing BBJ 747-8 arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara, now painted all white and registered as in Turkey as TC-TRK.

Once the aircraft is painted into the standard Turkish presidential aircraft colours it will be put into service alongside other aircraft in the Turkish fleet, which already includes an A318, two A319s, an A330-200 and an A340-500.

The gift comes following Turkey’s continued support of Qatar following the gulf states fall-out.

According to Turkey’s state-run broadcaster TRT, Sheikh Al Thani gifted the aircraft, with an estimated $400 million, to president Erdoğan due to “Thani’s special love for Erdoğan.”

However, opposition parties in Turkey questioned the timing of the gift. Turkey’s currency, the lira, has lost over 40% of its value so far in 2018, and inflation is running at one of its highest levels for many years.

Turkish finance minister Berat Albayrak has cut Turkey’s economic growth forecast for the year from 5.5% to 3.2% in 2018 and down even further to 2.3% in 2019.