Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has become the first person to buy the ultimate status symbol — his own Airbus A380 superjumbo jet. Planemaker Airbus named the Saudi royal, whose interests span hotels and banking and the operator of Disneyland Paris, as the mystery buyer of a VIP version dubbed the Flying Palace.
Price of the deal was not disclosed. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich recently denied buying the plane, which costs more than $300 million to airlines.
The prince, who is in his early 50s, appears to have a taste for super-sized jumbo jets. He already is the only private owner of a Boeing 747-400, Airbus said. "It’s like buying a new car or a new TV," David Velupillai, spokesman for Airbus, told The Associated Press. "One wants something bigger and better."
Prince Alwaleed confirmed the order despite seeing $2.5 billion wiped off his personal fortune the past month after a slide in the shares of Citigroup, in which he holds an important stake.
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