Boeing Business Jets celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday with cake, champagne and good news. Company president Steven Hill said, “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate ten years of success in the VIP market than with a new family member.”
Hill was referring to the BBJ3, based on the Boeing 900ER (extended range) platform. The airplane offers 35 percent more cabin floor area than the original BBJ, but similar range–5,475 nm with eight auxiliary fuel tanks. The company has already taken orders for two BBJ3s.
He also said Boeing Business Jets has won 12 new orders, bringing the company’s order book total to 114.
He took the occasion of NBAA’06 to annouce the official launch of the 700C, a multi-role version of the original BBJ with a large cargo door on the left side forward of the wing. It will be more expensive than the $48 million BBJ. The interior allows for a relatively easy overnight modular change to accommodate VIP passengers, cargo, a combination of both or medical evacuation. For this reason, the airplane has caught the interest of government agencies, said Hill. Depending on customer demand, the 700C variant is expected to be extended to the rest of the BBJ line.
To date, Boeing has built 99 business jets, of which 88 are in service. Hill noted that the airplane has retained its value well and that the original owners who have sold their irplanes have received 115 percent of the original value.
The company expects to take orders for 14 aircraft this year. Hill said, with a few delivery slots left in 2009 and sales now well into 2010.
And taking delivery of a BBJ does not mean flying off with a finished airplane. The company delivers its airplanes “green,” and flies them to one of a half dozen independent completion centers where interior cabin work requires another six to twelve months, depending on the complexity of the work.
Hill declined to discuss the heavier executive/VIP variants of Boeing aircraft, but he said Boeing Business Jets is not all about BBJs. He pointed out that a total of 303 executive/VIP variants of various Boeing airliners are flying. The company also recently sold two executive/VIP versions of the new 787 Dreamliner and one executive/VIP 747-8.