The Emir of Qatar has given one of the world’s largest and most expensive private jets to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani presented the Boeing 747-8, worth an estimated $400 million (Dh1.47 billion), as a symbol of “Thani’s special love for Erdogan,” according to Turkey’s state-run broadcaster TRT.
The jet, which landed at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport from France on Thursday, previously served in Qatar’s VIP Amiri Flight fleet, which caters exclusively to the royal family of Qatar and other high-ranking government staff.
The 76-metre plane is the longest passenger aircraft in the world and can carry up to 467 passengers in a typical configuration.
But the wide-body jet given to President Erdogan is outfitted to carry only 76 passengers and 18 crew, with the interior filled with staterooms, lounges, boardrooms, first class seating and even a hospital.
Qatar has pursued closer ties with Turkey as the Gulf crisis escalated after the Arab Quartet severed ties with Doha in June 2017 over its support for extremism.
The gift of the jet, which will join Turkey’s presidential fleet, comes amid a growing economic crisis in Turkey. The lira has lost more than 40 per cent of its value this year, but President Erdogan has refused to implement austerity measures or call on the International Monetary Fund to help stabilise the economy.
Last month, during a visit to Ankara, Sheikh Thani offered $15 billion direct investment to Turkey.
Qatar retains a fleet of wide and narrow-body Airbus jets to carry its royals in luxury.