This September, Airbus took to the skies to capture photos of five of its massive test and development A350–900s. The photo shoot was meant to celebrate the certification of the company’s latest twin-engine, wide-body jetliner.
It was also probably one of the most expensive photo shoots we’ve ever come across.
At a cool $300 million for each of the five A350–900s, the cost of the subjects alone totals $1.5 billion dollars. Initial capital aside though, the cost to actually perform the shoot is equally nauseating for us plebs.
According to information we dug up in the A350–900 specifications, just one of these flagship jetliners is capable of consuming 3,500 gallons of fuel per hour of flight time. Multiply that by $3.00 (the going price of jet fuel) and you have a price tag of just over $11,000.
That’s for only one plane though. There were five of them in this shoot, bringing the bill up to $55,000. Include the cost of preparation, pilots, the cost to fuel and operate the two chase planes, and you’re well on your way to a photo shoot that cost around $75,000 for operation alone.
These numbers are skewed a bit, considering the airliners aren’t full of passengers and we can’t know for sure how much the pilots and staff are being paid, but they’re probably not far off in a back-of-the-napkin math sort of way.
Don’t take our tallying the price tag as a sign of criticism though. The result… well… it speaks for itself.
Watching these quarter of a million-pound beasts effortlessly maneuver so close to one another and in such synchronization is mesmerizing. Throughout the six and a half minute BTS video, we see them pull off a handful of impressive formations, complete with the pilots’ reactions.
They might not be as agile as the Blue Angels, but we’d be wrong to say they aren’t as graceful. Press play and enjoy as over a billion dollars in machinery pulls off one heck of a photo shoot.