BBJ’s Russian Fleet Grows as Longer Range Max Approaches

 - September 12, 2013, 1:15 PM
Boeing Business Jets marketing director Charles Colburn is hoping to sell this 13-year-old BBJ this week at the JetExpo show in Moscow and is already pitching the extra range to be offered by the new 737Max version of the aircraft to Russian customers. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

Boeing is set to deliver two more of its Boeing Business Jets to Russian clients later this year, taking the total number of the airliner-class aircraft in VIP service in the country to 21. Its total sales tally to date for Russia and the neighboring CIS countries numbers 25 aircraft, with Russia accounting for 19 of these so far.

At the JetExpo show in Moscow, Boeing is displaying a 13-year-old example of the BBJ that is now on the pre-owned market. The cabin is configured for 33 passengers and the aircraft features six auxiliary fuel tanks for long-range performance. BBJ marketing director Charles Colburn indicated that he is hopeful of selling the aircraft to a Russian client this week, 15 years after he first exhibited a BBJ, when it had just entered service.

The planned introduction into service of the new 737Max airliner in 2017 clears the way for further improvements to the BBJ product portfolio. The new, longer-range version of the BBJ would likely be available beginning in 2019. With a range of 7,000 nm (up from 6,200 nm on the current version), the Max version of the BBJ will be able to fly nonstop from New York to the Middle East or from London to Hong Kong.

Reacting to Airbus’ claims at the Moscow show that customers demand range combined with comfort, Colburn said that travelers might find the BBJ more comfortable than its seven-inch-wider ACJ competitor because it offers a lower cabin altitude, 6,500 feet compared with the competition’s 8,000 feet. Colburn’s message to Russian customers is that the BBJ represents the right choice for those who want to travel long distances in high comfort and in style.