Rare Boeing 747SP Suffers Major Damage In Hangar Collision

A rare Boeing 747SP plane has suffered severe damage after a collision with another aircraft. The plane was set to undergo maintenance work before the collision occurred, leaving a gaping slice beneath the fuselage’s front-end. Evidence suggests the aircraft has now been damaged beyond repair.

Rare Boeing 747SP Suffers Major Damage In Hangar Collision
The plane was one of just a handful of operational 747SPs in circulation. Photo: Getty Images

The plane may be written off

The aircraft is a Boeing 747SP, one of just seven in operation worldwide, and is owned by casino conglomerate Las Vegas Sands Corporation. One of two 747SPs owned by the casino company, the damaged aircraft is believed to be the VQ-BMS. According to On the Wings Aviation, the damage dealt during the collision was so severe that the plane is expected to be a complete loss.

Photos show that the plane collided with the wing of another aircraft, tearing a huge laceration in the fuselage below the cockpit. Additionally, the right wing of the 747SP crashed into a pillar inside the hangar, causing the wingtip to snap off.

How did the accident happen?

Photos reveal that the aircraft had several fuselage panels and engine covers removed while the collision happened. At first, it was unclear what exactly led to the collision between the two aircraft, and it was thought that incident happened at Marana Airport, Arizona. However, an update by On the Wings Aviation states that the hangar at Chennault International Airport, Louisiana, where the planes were, was hit by Hurricane Laura in early September.

It isn’t completely clear which plane was involved in the collision with the 747SP and whether or not that aircraft also suffered extensive damage.

TWA 747 Sands Corporation
VQ-BMS alongside VP-BLK, the pair of 747SPs owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

A history of the VQ-BMS

The VQ-BMS plane entered into service in 1979 with Pan Am before taking on VIP duties with the Kingdom of Brunei and Bahrain in 1995. Las Vegas Sands Corporation eventually acquired the plane from Bahrain in 2008. The aircraft was subsequently used as a VIP jet to fly in patrons from across the world.

Rare Boeing 747SP Suffers Major Damage In Hangar Collision
The VQ-BMS has had a long and interesting history since entering service in the 1970s. Photo: Nick N via Flickr

The aircraft appeared in a Forbes article after celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kanye West flew on it in 2018. Since its acquisition by Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the interior of the plane has been remodeled to suit the tastes of VIP clientele.

The rare Boeing 747SP

Las Vegas Sands Corporation presently owns and operates two Boeing 747SPs – VQ-BMS and VP-BLK. The aircraft are two of just seven in operation globally, with only 45 747SPs ever manufactured by Boeing. As the smallest plane in the 747 family, the SP was designed for ultra-long-haul journeys, given its ability to make long flights without stopping for fuel.

Sheldon Adelson, the owner of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, is one of the richest individuals in the world with a net worth of over $32bn. Adelson owns and operates an extensive fleet of private jets, including four Gulfstream G550s and two Boeing 737-300s.

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