With Chinese customers having expressed a clear preference for larger private aircraft, it is little wonder that Boeing Business Jets has proved popular in greater China. Of the 10 BBJs sold so far, four are already in service–two with DeerJet in mainland China, one with MetroJet in Hong Kong and another with a private owner in Taiwan. Three more BBJs are now having their VIP interiors completed (one more for DeerJet, one for Beijing Airlines and another for a private owner), while three more are on order (yet another for DeerJet and a pair of the larger BBJ2 version for private owners).
The BBJ on display here at the ABACE show is one of the earliest models that Boeing produced, having been manufactured back in 1998. With plenty of space available inside the Boeing 737 airframe, the cabin features six sections: an office; a main lounge; a dining and conference area; a second lounge; a shower; and a lavatory. The aircraft is for sale and is being offered through brokers Freestream Aircraft.
Bigger Still: the 747-8
But Boeing now has something bigger to offer private fliers needing even more space: your very own Jumbo Jet. Earlier this month, it delivered the first example of its new 747-8that is to be fitted out with a VIP interior.
The aircraft was flown from Boeing’s factory at Everett, Washington, to Wichita, where the manufacturer’s Global Transport & Executive Systems division is fitting the Aeroloft kit developed by U.S. company Greenpoint Technologies. The Aeroloft is located aft of “the hump,” above the 747’s main deck. It will add another 393 square feet (37 sq m) of private space to the 4,786 square feet (445 sq m) available on the main deck and upper forward lounge.
From Wichita the airplane will be flown to Hamburg, Germany, for the larger cabin completion work to be done by Lufthansa Technik. While the interior will incorporate the latest technology, an elevator to transport passengers between the main deck and ground will not be among the amenities. But such elevators are available from Greenpoint Technologies in Kirkland, Washington, and L-3 Platform Integration of Waco, Texas.
In its final form, the new head-of-state 747-8 will be capable of carrying up to 100 passengers and will have a range of approximately 8,840 nmi (16,360 km). According to Boeing, the airplane provides double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over the 747-400 and is 30 percent quieter.
The company also claims that with a normal cruise speed of Mach 0.86 (1,053 km/h), it is the fastest large commercial jet. Boeing also points out that the 747-8 can be accommodated by most of the world’s airports, and that the pilot type rating for the new airplane is the same as that for earlier 747s, and that it is supported by most of the same ground equipment.
A second 747-8 is nearing delivery, according to a Boeing spokesman. It is one of the original certification test aircraft and considerable work was required to remove the test equipment prior to delivery. Boeing Business Jets claims to have orders for a total of nine VIP 747-8s.Also offered by Boeing are VIP versions of its new 787 Dreamliner (see related story on page 00).