03/13/2014

Britain's richest man?

In 2013 the top of the Sunday Times rich list changed from Lakshmi Mittal to Alisher Usmanov. His private plane comes here.


Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov was, in 2013, named as the richest man in Russia and in Britain, worth about £13.3 billion. Apparently, he has a number of residences in London, including Sutton Place, a residence that previously belonged to the wealthy and well-known American, J. Paul Getty.

He has followed in the footsteps of his compatriot, Roman Abramovich, in buying a London football club. Whereas Abramovich bought Chelsea, sometimes renamed as Chelski, Usmanov bought Arsenal. Unfortunately, Arsenal are out of the Champion's league, whereas Chelsea are still in as I write this.

Usmanov's private jet aircraft, an Airbus A-340-313X, has come several times in the last three years to Geneva. The most recent of these were a flying visit on the evening of St Valentine's day, followed by another one the following evening. Both visits were quite noisy, because the A340 Airbus is a rather large aircraft used for long-distance flights: it can carry up to 440 passengers for over 13,000 kilometres. Although his aircraft was built quite recently (in aircraft time-scales) in 2008, its size has it put in noise class III, midway between the noisiest class I and the least noisy class V. As of April 1 2014 it will move into class II, but the noise surcharge for a landing in Geneva will remain as 400 CHF: unlikely to be a problem.

As with many jets of the rich and famous, it has a personalised registration : M-IABU (M-*xxxx are British registrations used by many Russians. The personalisation comes from his initials ABU - Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov.

Given the worries expressed in this newspaper about an overrun of costs for the proposed new east wing long-distance terminal at Geneva airport, perhaps the Geneva airport directorate could ask him for a tiny fraction of his wealth :-)

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