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Russian oligarch Abramovic "first private owner of an A380 superjumbo"

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who owns the British football side Chelsea, has been revealed as the mysterious private citizen who ordered an Airbus A380 superjumbo, the world’s largest commercial airliner. The story was broken by French daily Le Figaro on Wednesday.

Airbus revealed the order earlier this year at the Paris Air Show, but did not identify the buyer. Since then, French media had speculated that the purchaser may be one of several prominent Mideast figures, such as the sultan of Brunei. Le Figaro did not name the source that had identified Abramovich as the purchaser of the aircraft. Neither Airbus nor a spokesman for Abramovich would confirm the report.

Abramovich’s fortune is estimated at $18.7 billion. The A380, which can seat between 555 and 800 passengers, officially sells for around $300 million. Abramovich currently uses a Boeing 767 as his private plane. Le Figaro said his A380 is to be delivered in 2011. (m&