What is the story of the “Queen of Heaven” private jet that Sisi has bought?

Egypt has reportedly bought a huge “luxurious” plane that is expected to be allocated to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a private jet, according to Flug Revue, a German website specializing in aviation affairs.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Boeing had sold to an unidentified customer a B747-8 that was intended for Lufthansa initially but not taken up. The aircraft was parked up in the Mojave Desert, and while it had the airline’s colors, it never flew with Lufthansa. Well, now we know who the new owner is. 

In February 2021, Boeing released its orders figures, and there was a report of an unfilled order for the passenger variant of the B747-8. The order was attributed to an unidentified customer, but there were reports that the aircraft had a German registration D-ABYE.

With that registration, it was possible to find out that the B747-8 was initially intended to go to Lufthansa. However, the German airline did not take up the aircraft, so Boeing sent it to the Mojave Desert with the registration N828BA.

Now, several media outlets report that N828BA will go to the Egyptian government. It has been re-registered as SU-EGY and spotted at Everett-Paine Field on September 8.

According to Scramble, SU-EGY could replace Egypt’s current presidential jet, which is an Airbus A340-200, registration SU-GGG.

Ch-aviation notes that this B747-8 is 10.39 years old. It had its first flight on April 26, 2011.

The German website said that the “Boeing 747-8I” plane purchased by the Egyptian government, had been rejected by the German national airline “Lufthansa” within a deal of 20 planes about 6 years ago, where it was left in the desert since its launch for two and a half hours on its first test flight.

The website pointed out that the plane requested by Lufthansa but later refused to receive it over years, which turned it into a dead “corpse” transferred between various airfields in America, before returning to life in the summer of 2021.

According to the website, the plane traveled between Pinal Air Park in Marana (2015), then the Boeing factory in Everett (2017), then Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, before settling at Victorville Airport in the Mojave Desert (2018).

The website indicated that on August 21, the plane took off for the first time in years to Boeing Airport in Everett, but with a new registration with the code “SU-EGY”.

The website indicated that “SU” is the symbol of the Arab Republic of Egypt, which, according to the German website, is likely to be a plane for the Egyptian presidency, and it will be reactivated soon as a huge plane for Egypt’s Sisi.

For his part, Adham Hassan, a former pilot at EgyptAir, estimated the cost of the plane at about half a billion dollars, pointing out that the plane is called the “Queen of the Sky” and is considered a luxury flying city.

Hassan said, in a post on his Facebook page: “There is no pilot in Egypt that was trained to fly it, in addition to maintenance or spare parts.”

“You can imagine the annual cost of recruiting and training entire teams to serve this plane, in addition to its cost and the obscene maintenance cost of Sisi’s flights… without exaggerating billions of Egyptian pounds annually.”

Hassan criticized Egypt’s decision to buy the plane, saying: “This is a wrong and very bad decision, and its cost is unacceptable for a poor and indebted country like Egypt. Most airlines across the world have suspended such luxurious planes from service because of being not feasible to operate on commercial flights, let alone operate them to transport a government employee without any return. But the question is: Is it an appropriate need for the new administrative capital and the new presidential palace?” he asked.