Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hong Kong Billionaire Joseph Lau Flys Very High

NEW YORK (AFP) - Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau has ordered a Boeing 787 "Dream Lifter" as a private VIP jet in an order worth some 153 million dollars at list prices, the aircraft maker said Tuesday.

The 787, whose first deliveries are set for next year, normally is configured to carry 250 to 300 passengers.

But Boeing said it has received seven orders, including the latest from Lau, for Dream Lifters as so-called VIP aircraft or business jets.

"The 787 VIP is an extremely attractive jet for wealthy and successful entrepreneurs, especially in Asia where business is conducted over long distances," said Boeing Business Jets president Steven Hill.

"The 787 has it all -- long-range capability, advanced technology and a spacious, comfortable cabin -- attributes that are needed to conduct business around the world. We are honored by Mr. Lau's confidence in Boeing jets and his relationship with Boeing Business Jets."

The VIP-configured 787-8 offers 223 square meters (2,404 square feet) of cabin space, according to Boeing.

Self-made tycoon Lau, 55, who holds a majority stake in Chinese Estates Holdings, last year paid the highest amount ever for a work by pop art icon Andy Warhol, with the purchase of a portrait of Mao Zedong for 17.4 million dollars at auction in New York.

Sometimes described as a playboy socialite, Lau has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine of 2.1 billion US dollars and is ranked 458th among the world's richest people by the magazine.

Lau spent more than 40 million Hong Kong dollars (5.1 million US) on 20 personalized car license plates.