Dubai Air Show

Boeing offers BBJ 3 based on 737-900ER; mulling 787 BBJ

 - December 7, 2006, 9:44 AM

Boeing Business Jets is ready to offer a BBJ 3 based on the biggest and longest-range member of the new generation 737 family, the 737-900ER, and is about to convene the first 787 completion center conference to address requirements for VIP versions of the 787 Dreamliner.

Steve King, BBJ president, said here yesterday that since the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva last May, when the company had mooted the possibility of a smaller, 737-600-size aircraft, customer feedback had revealed that what the market really wanted was a bigger cabin and more cargo capacity.

The aircraft would be formally named the BBJ 3 on receipt of the first order. The first green airframe, which will carry a list price of $62.5 million compared with the BBJ 2’s $56.5 million ticket, will be available in July 2008. That will allow time for development of the additional fuel tanks that will be needed to give it the necessary range.

The BBJ 3 would provide 1,120 sq ft of cabin space, 35 percent more than the 737-700-based BBJ and 11 percent more than the BBJ 2, which is derived from the 737-800. But luggage capacity is one of the crucial requirements in the Gulf region, and King highlighted the number of five-cubic- foot bags as a key figure in the equation: while the BBJ can carry 81 bags and the BBJ 2 accommodates 192, the new model would swallow no fewer than 249. Maximum range with up to five auxiliary tanks would be 4,765 nm.

Range would be the main attraction of a 787-based VIP aircraft, King said. With typical NBAA fuel reserves it would be capable of 10,400 nm. Even with the more conservative fuel reserves normally used in the Middle East and the typically greater number of bags–specifically, 75 passengers and an average 2.5 bags each–it would still be able to fly 9,400 nm, essentially putting anywhere on Earth within reach.

The completion center conference, starting next Monday, will establish the green aircraft configuration and VIP completion requirements.