Airbus has officially written off the order for the first, and so far only, VVIP A380. Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud placed the order in 2007. The 5,930-sq-ft cabin interior was neither designed nor installed.
"The aircraft was originally a flight-test A380. A few years after the 2007 order, Al Waleed resold the aircraft. Time passed and the aircraft was sitting in Toulouse, without any passenger equipment, without being delivered,” an Airbus Corporate Jets spokesman told AIN. The company decided to cancel the order in December. Airbus still owns the aircraft but does not know what its future is, he said.
Airbus further clarified the fate of the aircraft, telling AIN, “In past years there have been many articles saying that the interior has this or that inside it, and that it cost X or Y to complete. The articles are all pure speculation (and wrong), because the aircraft was never delivered and never outfitted.”
The prince, who was nurturing a high-profile public image, arrived in style at the Dubai Airshow in November 2007 to sign the contract, rolling up in his VVIP Boeing 747-400, flags flying from the cockpit, to a ramp spot alongside an A380 in Singapore Airlines colors. The following day, Dubai-based Al Jaber Group signed a “letter of interest” in acquiring two VVIP A380s. This was never converted into a firm order for what is now called the ACJ380.