Airbus Negotiates with Flying Casino Operators

15 February 2008

Airbus says it has been approached by Asian firms interested in using its A380 "superjumbo" aircraft as a flying casino.

Fran├žois Chazelle, head of Airbus's executive and private aviation division, told the Financial Times that the A380 is the first aircraft large enough to support an enjoyable gambling facility. "If this could have worked before, I'm sure it would have," he said.

"This [gambling] is clearly a growing business in Asia, and what this interest reflects is what is happening in Macao and Singapore," Chazelle added. "The idea of a flying casino has been mentioned before, but it's now looking a lot more concrete."

If negotiations lead to any orders for the A380, the first casino flights might be expected as early as 2012.

Many legal questions are raised of course, particularly regarding the legality of gaming activities in the jurisdictions over which a casino might fly. Some authority would surely want to regulate and tax a flying casino. Gaming happens to be very restricted throughout much of Asia, however.

Las Vegas Sands reported recently that it plans to operate two private jets linking its Venetian casinos in Las Vegas and Macao which would allow passengers to play baccarat. Chazelle would neither confirm nor deny whether the Sands or any other specific company is among those with whom it is negotiating.