BBJ sees positive market indicators

 - May 3, 2010, 11:31 AM

Boeing Business Jets president Steve Taylor noted positive trends in key markets, as he spoke at BBJ’s EBACE press conference on Monday. For bizliners, North America is “beginning to rebound,” he said, while the Middle East and Asia are experiencing “strong growth.” He mentioned Asia has already accounted for 21 percent of Boeing Business Jets’ deliveries so far. However, Europe is “lingering in uncertainty.”

Transactions are picking up on used airplanes. In parallel, new aircraft proposal activity is increasing, too, Taylor said. Boeing holds a 45-aircraft backlog for VIP jets, which comprises 21 twin-aisle airliners, such as the 747, 787 and 777, and 24 737-based BBJs.

Executive charter operator Beijing Capital Airlines (formerly known as Deer Jet) recently began operating the first Chinese-registered BBJ. Three more are on order for deliveries between this year and 2014, said Zhao Hui, assistant president of Beijing Capital Airlines. Taylor said charter and corporate operators account for only 15 percent of BBJ’s customers, while 50 percent of customers are private and 35 percent are governments.

Recently, carbon brakes were made available to new BBJ buyers. Available from two suppliers, the brakes provide a 700-pound weight saving. Separately, a noise-reduction retrofit is now available. Concerning the production process, Taylor mentioned wing-lets are now installed on the production line in Seattle–as opposed to being installed later, with the auxiliary fuel tanks.

This year, a runway awareness and advisory system will become available on new BBJs. Coming in 2011 are Class 2 electronic flight bags and enhanced vision. The following year will see changes that improve fuel performance by 2 percent, Taylor said.

Last January, BBJ (Booth No. 7051) invited completion-center representatives to Seattle to talk about 747-8 and 787 completions. According to Taylor, it worked both ways. Boeing released useful information for the completion centers and became more knowledgeable regarding the centers’ data requirements.

Taylor said the first green 747-8 earmarked for VIP completion is to be delivered in late 2011 and the first green 787 VIP delivery in the second quarter of 2012. Taylor is hoping to market some of the 787s currently in flight- test as VIP aircraft, but admitted Boeing’s focus is on certification and the first airline deliveries.

He also introduced the division’s new chief test pilot, René Gonzalez. Prior to becoming president of the company, Taylor himself was its chief test pilot.