Boeing Business Jets kicked off the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando by reporting that it has recorded double digit orders for the first time since 2008.
BBJ represents the upper end of the private jet market with conversion of commercial jets that cram hundreds of passengers into VIP configurations specifically for elite travelers.
Of the 10 orders so far this year, three have been for 777-300ERs, a plane that when used by commercial airlines can haul up to 400 passengers. Stephen Taylor, President of BBJ, highlighted two orders for the BBJ Max 8, an extended range 737 version with 6,550 nautical miles range. The aircraft features three times current cargo volume, 26 percent more cabin space, and the range to fly nonstop from Hong Kong to London or Geneva, and Los Angeles to Seoul or Beijing, missions on the edge of current limits. The added cabin space, Taylor said, equate to “an extra room to use however you wish.”
While the 747-800 has faced challenges selling in the commercial market, Taylor said it is popular with VIPs, with nine ordered and more in the pipeline. He is pitching the plane as a replacement for the current presidential version 747s which are due for replacement.
Separately, he noted that completion expert Lufthansa Technik has rolled out an application that enables elite travelers to design the interior of their BBJ on a iPad.
Noting business aviation’s continued philanthropy, Taylor cited ATX, a Texas BBJ operator that recently flew 15,000 lbs. of relief supplies to Liberia.
Taylor, who has led the BBJ unit for nearly five years, also announced he will be taking up a new role as Chief Pilot of the commercial aviation division. A replacement will be named in the next month. However, he’s hoping to sign several more orders this year before he hands over the reins.