Boeing Business Jets maintains momentum

 - May 31, 2007, 12:01 PM

Boeing Business Jets gathered momentum last year with sales of 23 aircraft valued at about $3 billion. That momentum, the company said at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) last month, has carried over into this year, with the company logging orders for seven aircraft–six BBJs and an executive version of the 787-9–since January.

The new orders are valued at $478.5 million at current list prices. Including that most recent order, the total Boeing Business Jets order book for all aircraft types now totals 135 aircraft.

“We continue to see incredible demand,” said Boeing Business Jets president Steven Hill, adding that the company is poised for another “phenomenal year.”

Since last year’s EBACE show, Boeing Business Jets has taken orders for 27 aircraft–12 BBJs, two BBJ2s, three BBJ3s, four 747-8s and six 787s. That total does not include two executive jets customers purchased directly from leasing companies.

According to the company, private individuals account for the bulk of sales at 44 percent, followed closely by heads of state at 36 percent. The remaining customers are divided evenly between corporate customers and charter operators.

Boeing Business Jets also made note of the current market for BBJs, pointing out that used-market sales records show that the average value of a pre-owned BBJ is about 108 percent of the original price for a typically completed aircraft.
“Brand-new BBJs are in high demand and short supply, and that’s been driving [the airplane’s] residual value,” explained Hill.

“In short supply” is probably Hill being modest. At this point, the first available slot for a new BBJ (any model) is mid-2011. The first available slot for an executive version of the 747-8 is in 2012, and the 787 is sold out through 2015.

In the last 12 months, he said, seven pre-owned BBJs have sold at an average price approximately 120 percent of the original price.

While this suggests a high residual value, there are other factors driving that market, according to some aircraft brokers. Not the least of these is a burgeoning class of wealthy individuals and companies in Russia “who are overpaying and helping to drive up prices for low-time, high-end airplanes.” The other factor is the continuing strength of the euro versus the dollar. And, Hill said, “I don’t look for the situation to change anytime soon.”