Royalty has it own charm was proved once again as Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah piloted his aircraft to New Delhi surprising everyone who had assembled at the airport to receive the visiting dignitary. The Sultan has come to the country to participate in the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and India’s Republic Day celebrations.
Brunei Sultan is the longest serving monarch after Queen Elizabeth. He surprised everyone as he emerged from the cockpit after his massive aircraft 747-400 landed at the airport.
This is the Sultan's first trip to India since the Modi government came to power in 2014. While oil-rich Brunei may not make headlines, unlike other SE Asian countries, this feat of the 71-year-old Sultan has put the nation in the spotlight.
It is pertinent to mention that the Sultan had captained the aircraft on his previous visits to the Indian capital in 2008 and 2012. The Sultan usually pilots his 747-400 on overseas trips. Ranked among the wealthiest royal rulers in the world, the Sultan celebrated 50 years of his reign on October 5 last year.
Brunei Sultan bought Boeing 747-400 for at least USD100 million and had it fitted with a special interior with features such as wash basins of solid gold and Lalique crystal at an additional cost of some USD120 million. The aircraft is furnished with gold-plated furniture and is believed to be one of the world's most luxurious aircraft.
The Sultan is also passionate about cars-after the love of his flying. The royal family is said to maintain a collection of over 100 vehicles and the palace has an underground garage to has an underground garage to accommodate them. The Brunei ruler once owned one of the largest private car collections in the world.