LABACE Convention News

MAX 7 Could Be Leading BBJ Model

 - August 15, 2017, 11:56 AM
The BBJ Max 7 (center), unveiled at NBAA last year, is a shortened version of the Max 8. (Photo: Boeing Business Jets)

Boeing Business Jets is at LABACE to promote its range of corporate and VIP aircraft in the very-large sector. The manufacturer offers a line of business/government/VVIP models based on the company’s 737, 747, 777 and 787 airliners, and has achieved significant sales, notably to governments for head-of-state transport and to high-net-worth individuals.

Since 1996 Boeing has sold 250 aircraft into the VIP/corporate transport market, of which 224 have been delivered. The vast majority have been of the BBJ family, based on the Next-Generation 737-700 (BBJ), 737-800 (BBJ2) and 737-900ER (BBJ3) airliners. Sales efforts are focused now on the BBJ derivative of the 737 MAX family, powered by CFM International Leap-1B engines and with advanced avionics. Compared with the Next-Generation 737 family, the MAX and its new technologies offer significant fuel savings.

A BBJ family derived from the latest 737 MAX airliner was launched in April 2014 when Boeing Business Jets announced the sale of a single BBJ MAX 8. This aircraft is due to be delivered to the customer’s nominated completion center next year. A further nine BBJ MAX 8s have subsequently been ordered. In June 2015 an order was announced for the first of the longer BBJ MAX 9, launching that program. The latest member of the family is the short-body BBJ MAX 7, which was unveiled last October at NBAA. In December Boeing revealed that it had its first customer, an undisclosed buyer in the Asia-Pacific region.

Certification of the BBJ MAX 7 is slated for 2021, following approvals for the MAX 8 and 9 versions. Delivery slots for BBJ MAXs are available beginning in 2021, with the MAX 7 available from 2022. Boeing predicts that its latest version will ultimately create the majority of future sales in a sector where range capability is a major factor, just as the original Series 700-based BBJ outsold the -800 and -900ER derivatives.

The BBJ MAX 7 is based on a shortened MAX 8 airframe rather than the lighter MAX 7 airliner, and at 35.6 m (116 ft 8 in) is approximately 1.95 m (6 ft 4 in) longer than that of the BBJ it is supplanting, providing additional interior cloakroom/storage space. The Leap-1B engines and other improvements allow the BBJ MAX 7 to reach its design range of 7,000 nm (12,964 km) with four passengers with only seven auxiliary underfloor tanks, whereas nine are installed in the BBJ. In turn, this significantly increases baggage capacity, while adding 730 nm (1,350 km) to the range potential compared with the BBJ.

The original BBJ family continues to draw orders, and recently Boeing announced the sale of two BBJ2s (plus a standard 737-800) to the government of Poland, and a single BBJ to the Netherlands, for head-of-state duties. Compared with the later MAX family, the original BBJ offers much earlier delivery slots for customers requiring aircraft rapidly. A BBJ could be acquired as early as the end of next year, while the next current BBJ MAX slot is 2021.

Having earlier delivered 747-400, 757 and 767 aircraft into the very-large VIP market, Boeing Business Jets is now concentrated on new sales of VIP versions of the 777, 787 and 747-8, of which 11, 16 and nine have been ordered, respectively.