With demand softening for narrowbody VIP aircraft,Business Jets is focusing on the market for very large VVIP and head-of-state transports.
“The emphasis for us right now is the widebodies,” says BBJ president Capt. Steve Taylor.
Boeing has sold “a remarkable” 14Dreamliners, including one this year, and is close to closing another couple, he tells ShowNews.
And it is close to closing on a tenth. To date it has delivered eight to completion centers, and the first two or three will enter service this year. “There is a race for the first center to deliver one,” he notes. Most are head-of-state aircraft.
Three 787s have already been delivered, and one of those is already in service with a head-of-state customer who is flying it in airline configuration to gain familiarity before fitting a VVIP interior. The other two are in completion centers.
The 787, notes Taylor, can fly nonstop between any two city pairs in the world.
On the smaller end, Boeing signed its first customer this year for the reengined BBJ Max VIP version of the 737-8 Max. “It offers a very significant improvement in performance over the BBJ2 with 16% more range, or 800 miles over most BBJ2s out there, to 6,325 nm with NBAA reserves.” The first will be delivered in 2018, and Boeing is now offering positions—up to six a year—for 2019 onward.
Last year’s order tally for narrowbody BBJs was four aircraft (whileended with a net sale of one narrowbody after selling four and suffering three cancelations).
Taylor says Boeing is sustaining its narrowbody BBJ order book without big swings “but none of us are selling aircraft like we were before 2008.” Total sales of the 737 BBJ stand at 159, with 143 in service.