Crystal Cruises has lent its private VIP Boeing 777-200LR for vital cargo flights, using its exceptional long-range to link distant destinations as part of the fight against the coronavirus. This entry joins other strange aircraft flying emergency freight flights like Airbus’ prototypes, Antonov super transports, and even borrowed American football team planes.
Who is Crystal Cruises?
Typically known for its range of luxury cruise ships, Crystal Cruises has also been experimenting with offering luxury jet escapes for VIPs.
Crystal Cruises has a fleet of two aircraft, the above Boeing 777-200LR (operated by Comlux Aviation) and its first aircraft, a Bombardier Global Express Jet XRS. These aircraft fly VIP guests around the world to meet ships as well as private tours with the firm’s various partners.
“The aircraft flies on-demand, chartered worldwide routes for up to 12 guests, features three spacious cabins with flexible configurations, and can comfortably accommodate business needs and leisure travel alike, with sleeping berths for up to six.”
What does the VIP 777-200LR look like inside?
We have covered plenty of private jets here on Simple Flying, such as the Mexican president 787 and the proposed A380 flying palace, but this 777-200LR takes the cake for long-range travel in style.
The ‘Crystal Skye’ was built by Crystal Cruises as a flying tour plane for 88 passengers, to experience the very best that the world has to offer without having to be as slow as a cruise ship. It is operated by Comlux Aviation.
“Every facet of the Crystal Skye charter experience can be tailored to suit the preferences of its guests, from the itinerary length, locales, and land experiences, to the onboard menu of Michelin-level cuisine prepared by the executive chef.” – Crystal Cruises
The aircraft not only carries 88 passengers in luxury (in what appears to be a 2-2-2 configuration) but also features an entire lounge and dining cabin for those looking to socialize and enjoy meals together.
Additionally, the aircraft has complimentary WiFi onboard, in-seat power as well as your standard offering of entertainment at each seat. The seats have been designed especially for the aircraft, and would not look out of place in a typical business class cabin.
However, the 777-200LR VIP plane will perform a very different mission going forward…
How is it being used today?
The Boeing 777-200LR is in the battle against the coronavirus as a freight aircraft. Because of its exceptional long-range, it is uniquely suited for long, direct routes where time is of the essence.
As reported by Thomas at Business Insider, the first mission was from Shanghai to Fort Myers, Florida, delivering essential medical supplies right from the factories to ground zero.
Another unique aircraft joins the #COVID19 airlift, @crystalcruises’ VIP-configured Boeing 777-200LR. Take a look inside the 88-seat private jet turned freighter. My latest for @businessinsider. Photos: @crystalcruises and @rnziskind. https://t.co/Zhmw74hWWK pic.twitter.com/jta35N7f2K
— Thomas Pallini (@tpallini) April 15, 2020
Its cargo compartment contains room for 5,330 ft³ (150.9 m³) worth of goods and the VIP cabin above for a little more (thanks to its low-density configuration). Overall the room is just smaller than a Boeing 777F but much bigger than many other private aircraft flying today (even other Boeing 777-200LRs).
Plus, with the aircraft’s long-range (8,555 nautical miles / 15,843 km), it has so far been able to perform routes without having to stop and refuel. And when you have doctors desperate for equipment to save lives, every moment counts.
What do you think of this news? Should more VIP aircraft be rented for freight flights? Let us know in the comments.