Boeing Business Jets celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday with cake, champagne and good news. Company president Steven Hill said, “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate ten years of success in the VIP market than with a new family member.”
As long as manufacturers keep selling business jets, buyers will continue filling the cabins with the posh, the luxurious and, occasionally, the downright outlandish. The consensus among those with a front-row view of the completion and refurbishment industry these days is that the money is coming in faster than they can help everyone spend it.
Sales expectations were modest when Boeing formed its business jet unit in 1996 to market an executive/VIP version of the company’s Next Generation 737-700. The mild ride that many anticipated turned out to be “a wild ride” in the words of the division’s first president, the late Borge Boeskov.
In the world of private aircraft in the bizliner category there are three subcategories–big, bigger and biggest. After several years in which the ripple of sales activity for bizliner manufacturers was only slightly more impressive than a ping-pong ball dropped into a glass of water, the market appears to be on the rebound. Just how good is the situation now? Think bowling ball and a bathtub.
On September 1 Boeing’s new 737-900ER, the platform for the new BBJ3, made its first flight. The first 900ER is destined for Indonesia’s Lion Air. Boeing last November at the Dubai Air Show announced plans to offer a BBJ3 derivative (though not for the first time), but a formal launch decision has yet to be made. A Boeing spokesperson said more information on the BBJ3 will be forthcoming at the NBAA Convention next month in Orlando.
Boeing Business Jets, best known for its BBJ series based on variants of the next-generation Boeing 737 airliners, recently announced that in the past 11 months it has taken orders totaling $2.25 billion. In addition it has made contracts for 14 BBJs, and taken orders for executive/VIP versions of the 787-8 (one), 787-9 (three) and 747-8s (three). A deal for a fourth 787 is close to being signed.
Boeing Business Jets marked its 10th anniversary yesterday with a pair of single-aircraft orders for its now officially launched BBJ3, the latest member of its family of executive transports derived from the new Next Generation 737. Boeing did not reveal the identity of the customers.
While the business aviation industry remains healthy and forecasts predict continued growth, the established OEMs announced only incremental product upgrades at the NBAA Convention last month. In all, manufacturers unveiled six derivative business airplanes: the Airbus A318 Elite; Bombardier Challenger 605 and Learjet 60XR; Cessna Encore+; Dassault Falcon 2000DX; and Raytheon Hawker 850XP.
Under an agreement signed last month with Swiss International Air Lines and airport authorities, Jet Aviation Basel has moved into the Crossair hangar in Basel. The 53,000-sq-ft hangar brings the company’s total hangar space to 215,000 sq ft.