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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Abramovich Buys 'Air Force One'

BoeingRoman Abramovich purchased and refitted a 767-300ER similar to the one pictured.
For billionaire Roman Abramovich, who started a multi-million shopping spree last year with the purchase of Chelsea soccer club, apparently only the sky is the limit.

One of his recent buys is a brand new Boeing 767-300ER, which, equipped with a missile jammer, is the next best thing to the U.S. president's Air Force One, sources familiar with the deal said.

The craft, which was purchased for an undisclosed sum last year from Ansett Worldwide leasing firm, is currently parked on the grounds of Jet Aviation, a business aviation services firm in Basel, Switzerland, the sources said. It has already been painted in Filton, England, in the same livery as the Boeing Business Jet 737 Abramovich already owns.

A new Boeing 767 costs roughly $100 million, but analysts said it is virtually impossible to estimate the price tag of Abramovich's jet because of the unknown cost of the plane's interior.

"It has all the toys in it. It has the best communications, which cannot be cracked, modeled on Air Force One," said a source in Russia familiar with the purchase.

President George W. Bush has two specially configured Boeing 747-200s. They can be refueled in mid-flight and are equipped with anti-missile defenses.

Accommodations include an executive suite consisting of a stateroom and the president's office. A conference/dining room is also available for the president, his family and staff. Other accommodations are provided for guests, senior staff, security personnel and reporters.

Asked to comment on Abramovich's rival to Air Force One, U.S. Air Mobility Command spokesman Mark Voorhis said: "We cannot comment on this one, ma'am."

President Vladimir Putin has two presidential jets he inherited from Boris Yeltsin, an Ilyushin 62 and an Il-96. A third plane, an Il-96, is being refitted in Voronezh by a British firm.

The interior of the Russian president's newest jet is a tightly kept secret, leading to the occasional report in the yellow press of toilets made of gold.

A Boeing 747 belonging to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd is reportedly fitted with an on-board ornamental fountain.

The new jet purchased by Abramovich -- who holds the more modest position of governor of Chukotka -- will certainly rival those of many heads of state.

The firm in charge of the plane's interior design, Jet Aviation, refused to comment on the craft.

The company did say, however, that late last year it completed a full-size plywood and styrofoam mock-up of a Boeing 767 interior for a private customer the firm would not name. It was the first full-scale mock-up of a 767 interior that the firm completed.

The price of the mock-up ran between $150,000 and $300,000, according to Flight International, a London-based aviation industry magazine.

"It will make Air Force One look cheap," said one airline industry expert.

"Jet Aviation do a very high quality job and recently completed the outfit of an Airbus 340 for the sultan of Brunei," said Paul Duffy, a Moscow-based independent aviation analyst.

Duffy estimated that the missile jammer would set back Abramovich $1.5 million.

Only top government officials' jets and a few commercial planes in Israel are believed to have missile jammers.

The debate continues in the industry whether it is feasible to fit commercial planes with the infrared technology that protects fighter jets from missiles.

Powered by two engines, a Boeing 767-300ER seats up to 360 passengers and has a range of 10,550 kilometers.

Flagship carrier Aeroflot -- in which Abramovich's Millhouse Capital held 26 percent until last spring -- operates nine such craft.

Not all Russian airports can accommodate the Boeing 767. But the craft would have no problems taking off and landing at Chukotka's capital Anadyr, the general director of the town's airport, Gennady Baiborodov, said in an interview last week. The airport is undergoing a $50 million reconstruction.

The new jet is in line with Abramovich's other top-end purchases, including a custom-made Rolls-Royce, the largest yacht in the Mediterranean -- equipped with a submarine and helicopter landing pad -- and prime real estate around the world.

Abramovich is also believed to have an Eurocopter EC 155 helicopter, and his wife Irina was spotted in a Bombardier Global Express LX-VIP jet.

Abramovich's new plane will be registered with the Aruba Civil Aviation Register, Netherlands, the same as his first Boeing, sources said.

The plane was originally set to be delivered to Hawaiian Airlines, but later ended up in possession of a Cayman Islands registered company, according to a British consultancy firm familiar with the situation.

The craft is managed by Luxembourg-based Silver Arrows business jet operator, which has also managed Abramovich's first Boeing, the consultancy said.

Hawaiian Airlines was not available for comment, but a source in Honolulu said last week that the Boeing had never been used by the airline.

It was not immediately clear whether Abramovich would get rid of his other plane once the Boeing 767 finally lands in his hands.