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Telefónica to sell its executive aircraft for €20m
TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant Telefónica has just put its luxury airline up for sale for between US$21.9 million and US$22.9m (€19.3m to €20.2m).
Once the largest aircraft owner in the IBEX 35 – Spain’s list of the 35 biggest companies by share capital – with a total of four, it now only has two left, putting it behind clothing empire Inditex and supermarket chain Mercadona.
But once it has shifted its Gulfstream G550, bought in 2010, Telefónica will only have one aircraft left in its fleet.
The firm, based in Spain but operating globally – it owns the operator O2 in the UK – has always managed its fleet of executive aircraft via its subsidiary company Lotca Servicios Integrales, S.L.
Seven years ago, Telefónica launched a plan to cut its fleet by half in order to slash annual maintenance costs, which were payable to Gestair, and to reduce its balance-sheet losses by eliminating the yearly depreciation shown on paper as the planes aged.
Telefónica only plans to keep its Gulfstream G650, the newest of its models.
As the photographs – from the website Global Jet, which advertises Telefónica’s aircraft – show, the luxury plane has spacious seating for 18 passengers with sumptuous leather seats and cushions plus chaises longues, polished-wood bar units and plush carpets.
Its Rolls Royce engine means it can reach speeds of up to 909 kilometres per hour and a height of up to 15,500 metres (about 46,500 feet), and it measures 29.4 metres in length.
The aircraft can fly for up to 12 hours, or 12,500 kilometres, without needing to stop for refuelling.
Up for sale two years after Telefónica sold two of its other aircraft, the Gulfstream G550 has 3,660 flying hours on the clock.
Another G550 sold in 2017 to the Austrian company Ecitation GMBH went for €13m, and the smaller G200, which has space for eight passengers and can fly for 6,300 kilometres without needing to refuel, was sold to Málaga-born Hollywood actor Antonio Banderas.
The former husband of Melanie Griffith in fact bought it through the company managed by his brother, Alce 2005 S.L., based in the Costa del Sol capital.
Telefónica’s aircraft are not always lucrative business: in 2007, the company had to pay over €3m extra to the tax authorities after an audit revealed that the planes, although hired out via a loan agreement with Gestair, were in fact, technically, being rented by the telecoms company, meaning it was unable to offset its expenses.
Tax office audits on the two-acre executive hangar at Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport are said to be regular occurrences – especially when new planes are acquired.
Recently, a fleet of Malta-registered airlines were brought in.
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