Ten years after delivery and fewer than 50 flight hours of service, the first Boeing 747-8 to be scrapped—a BBJ variant ordered by the Saudi Arabian government—was dismantled on Monday, according to digital aviation hub Aerotime.
The aircraft, N458BJ, was intended for use by Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Abdul Aziz, who died unexpectedly in 2011, some nine months before the scheduled delivery. Five months after manufacture in 2012 the aircraft was ferried to EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg Airport (LFSB) for scheduled interior completion. No reports on the extent of work performed subsequently appeared, and the jumbo BBJ had remained at LFSB in the decade since, marketed sporadically for about $95 million; the Saudis reportedly paid more than $300 million for the green aircraft.
In April 2022, Boeing bought the 747-8 from the Saudi royal family, and three days later ferried it to Pinal Airpark (KMZJ) in the Arizona desert, one of the world’s largest aircraft boneyards. The four General Electric GEnx turbofan engines were reportedly removed soon thereafter. Wing flaps and some empennage and fuselage parts of the all-white double-decker jet may have also been removed.
Boeing, which ceased manufacture of the 747 this month after a production run of 54 years, will likely use those parts for its customers’ MRO needs; Boeing did not respond to inquiries about the dismantling before press time.