Plans to convert the first Airbus A380 retired from airline service into a ‘royal yacht’ are well under way.

“We are in discussions with three parties. One is at a very advanced stage,” says Philip Queffelec, chairman of Sparfell & Partners, the leading aircraft trading company in Switzerland brokering commercial aircraft, business jets and helicopters. His company is trying to find homes for four A380-800s that came off lease at Singapore Airlines since last November, the first in the industry to do so.

Queffelec says the big jets are perfect for VVIP or head-of-state transportation. Though they have racked up numerous hours on long-haul flights, they have far fewer cycles, meaning much of their original equipment is only at about half-life. And the price is right: far less than a “green” Boeing 777 or Airbus A330. You could fly away a VVIP A380 for perhaps under $300 million, very aggressive  compared to a new “green” twin-engine widebody, he says.

With the upper and lower deck each the size of a widebody airliner, the aircraft lends itself to VIP luxury upstairs and up to 250 working staff below. Or the other way around.

The four A380s are owned by German leasing and finance company DS Aviation, part of the Dr. Peters Group. They are currently mothballed at Toulouse.

Sparfell has partnered with renowned Winch Design to conceptualize the A380 interior, and with Jet Aviation for completion, says Queffelec. That way it can offer a realistic “ready-to-go” package and budget to prospective buyers.

The A380 once came close to private use: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, chairman of Kingdom Holding company, signed for the only Flying Palace but that deal collapsed with the global financial crisis in 2008.

Sparfell is at EBACE Static 25 showing a VVIP Airbus ACJ319 with a Winch Design interior completed by AMAC, and an immaculate VIP Leonardo AW139 helicopter.