There are many examples of jets in VIP or private ownership. Often these go unnoticed as they pass through airports in plain liveries. Some users, though, like to advertise their presence – and many music groups have done this over the years. The Rolling Stones took their turn with 737-400 aircraft in 2014 and 2015.
Hiring 737s for tours
Throughout 2014 and 2015, the Rolling Stones were frequently seen arriving to play concerts on a private 737 aircraft, standing out with the group’s trademark lips image on the fuselage (and the band name, if you need it).
The first of these (according to The Points Guy) was chartered for the group’s European tour in 2014. This was a 737-400 aircraft hired from Greek leasing company GainJet. The aircraft, with registration SX-ATF, previously flew with KLM and transferred to GainJet in 2012. It remains in active leasing use with the company still.
The group then did the same for their 2015 US ‘Zip Code’ tour. Another 737-400 was hired from Phoenix-based leasing company Swift Air. This aircraft carries registration N802TJ and again remains in leasing use, now with leasing operator iAero Airways.
According to media reports during the tour, the aircraft were surprisingly simple inside. The band did not refit them with luxurious interiors. The Swift Air aircraft operated with 68 business-class style standard seats.
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Moving to a 767-300ER
The groups used 737-400 aircraft throughout 2014 and 2015. But for their next ‘No Filter’ tour in 2016, the group switched to a larger 767-300ER aircraft. This was hired from leasing company Aeronexus. The aircraft, with registration, ZS-NEX, previously flew with LOT Polish Airlines and only entered charter use in 2015.
According to media reports during the tour, this took luxury up a level. The widebody had just 96 larger seats and a sofa and sleeping area in a private cabin upfront. The aircraft was also used in Australia in 2017. It is currently still with Aeronexus but stored.
It can be seen here landing at Zurich airport for a concert in 2017:
The Rolling Stones are not alone
Plenty of other bands have used private aircraft. Iron Maiden chartered a 757 aircraft from Astraeus Airlines and used it for the ‘Somewhere Back in Time World Tour’ in 2008. Another was used for a tour in 2011, but the group switched to a 747 for their next tour in 2016.
The band refitted it luxuriously – with a 30-foot long sofa, leather swivel chairs, as well as a bar, electric organ, and a shower.
Did you ever see the Rolling Stones private aircraft – or any in use by bands? There are plenty more uses we haven’t looked at here. Feel free to discuss in the comments.