Boeing Business Jets (Chalet 140) is pulling double duty here at ABACE 2013, showcasing the BBJ, the VIP version of the Seattle-based airframer’s 737 airliner, while simultaneously celebrating the 40th year of Boeing commercial sales in China and the delivery of the 1,000th Boeing airliner to the market, a 737-800 purchased by China Eastern Airlines.
Boeing Business Jets is eager to build upon its parent company’s successes. “We feel the BBJ is the perfect solution for the Chinese business model,” said Jeff Dunn, vice president, sales. “The BBJ is longer range, more than 6,000 nautical miles [9,656 kilometers], it’s comfortable, with a lower cabin altitude of 6,500 feet versus the standard 8,000-foot cabin altitude, and it has 76-square meters of interior space. When you put those three elements together–range, comfort and size–it’s the best [VIP airliner] in its class.”
This year the company has six green BBJs scheduled for delivery to completion centers (all BBJs are delivered green), four destined for Asia and three of those are China bound. Seven BBJs will enter service this year, three in Asia and one of those in China.
Boeing Business Jets marked the service entry of the Chinese BBJ, purchased by Yantai-based charter operator Nanshan Jet, at a ceremony yesterday morning in front of Boeing Business Jets’ chalet. Gary Locke, U.S. Ambassador to China, made an appearance at the ceremony, where Steve Taylor, Boeing Business Jets president, presented a model of Nanshan’s BBJ to Yu Bin, chairman of Nanshan Aviation Development Company.
The Nanshan purchase underscores a growing regional demand for the BBJ in the charter market. Beijing Airlines, Deer Jet, Korean Airlines and Metrojet are among regional charter operators with BBJs in their fleets.
Boeing Business Jets presence at ABACE comes on the heels of a recently completed BBJ tour of the region, showcasing the aircraft in Taipei and Hainan Province. In total, the company has sold 207 VIP airliners: 147 BBJs delivered and nine on order; and 38 VIP versions of its widebody airliners (from the 757 to the 747-8) delivered, and 22 on order. The Asia Pacific region accounts for 17 percent of all Boeing’s VIP variants, and more than 20 percent of its BBJ customers. “This is the market that is continually significant for all of us [large business aircraft manufacturers],” said Dunn.
Boeing has a BBJ on static display here at ABACE. Named “Captain James Cook,” the interior is appointed in an explorer’s theme, and is offered for sale by National Jets of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The company invites parties interested in aircraft to visit its chalet to schedule a tour.
Boeing’s 40-year relationship with China began when the Chinese government ordered 10 B-707 airliners after former U.S. President Nixon’s historic visit in 1972. The last of those ten 707s was delivered to China by Taylor’s father. o