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Tue 12 Feb 2008 02:27 AM

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Alwaleed plans $176mn Airbus refit

Prince to splash more than half of A380s value on 'Lawrence of Arabia meets Star Wars' interior.

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud is planning to spend up to $176 million customising his private Airbus A380 ‘Flying Palace’, it was reported Monday.

The world’s 13th richest man, who became the first private customer for the $320 million superjumbo in November, is to splash more than half the value of the plane itself on a ‘Lawrence of Arabia meets Star Wars’ interior, said the UK’s Daily Mail.

According to German media, a Hamburg firm has received an order for a marble-panelled dining room to be constructed “next to a bar with curtains to mimic tents of the Arabian desert”, the newspaper said.

A whirlpool bath and sauna will be situated “where economy class usually begins”, said the Mail, with sensors fitted to keep the water in place if the plane hits turbulence.

A movie theatre, gym and series of bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms are reportedly planned for the upper deck, with a missile system in place to ward off any mid-air attacks.

The design company was not named in the report, however Hamburg-based Lufthansa Technik was reported last year to have designed an Airbus 380 for private clients.

Other firms believed to have been in the running for the commission include the US-based Edese Doret Industrial Design.

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