Boeing Business Jet Max Racks up Impressive Orders Ahead of Launch
Boeing’s 747 model and its variants have long been recognized as fundamentally integral to business aviation. Stretching back half a century, the original twinjet found its feet among commercial airlines with its perfectly balanced offering of sturdy construction and economic upkeep. Its reputation as the go-to model was solidified over the coming decades until, in 1996, Boeing buddied up with General Electric to give birth to a newer 737 that would be known as the Boeing Business Jet, or BBJ.
Building on the esteemed reputation of the previous model it was somewhat inevitable that the BBJ would take the market by storm. Utilizing the 737-700’s airframe alongside the wings, center fuselage and landing gear of the 737-800 series, Boeing had created the perfect jetliner blueprint just before the turn of the millennium.
The Evolution of the BBJ Series
Retailing at around the $36 million mark, it wasn’t uncommon for the final price point to settle above $50 million with the bespoke, customizable interiors available. This aspect, in particular, helped ensure a balance in customers’ perceptions of the BBJ. Whilst modern models such as the Phenom 100 from Embraer or the Eclipse 550 have a reputation of offering less bang for less buck, the BBJ never let its pragmatic equipment or widespread availability alter its high quality standing.
It would be inaccurate to say that the current 737 has simply rested on its laurels until now. The BBJ2 fulfilled a demand in the market for increased capacity, carrying a quarter more passengers whilst sacrificing some range. After this came the BBJ3 which was bigger still, packing in 189 flyers in coach, and the BBJ-C designed for quick turnaround; used for executive duty one night and cargo the next. To date, the BBJ series has accumulated orders to the tune of 159.
Flash forward to 2015 and the BBJ Max is well on its way to becoming the new big thing in this accomplished series. As the name would suggest, the model is a revamp of those currently in existence, maximizing on all fronts to produce the best aircraft available.
With a cabin space of 19ft and a range of 11,714km, the BBJ Max offers the best of both worlds. The capacity matches that of the BBJ2 which was brought in to increase the number of passengers over the original model, yet the newly extended range – more than 800 nautical miles further than the BBJ2 – cuts out the previously necessity of balancing range with capacity. There’ll be plenty of room for said passengers’ belongings too, with around three times as much cargo space; quite an impressive addition considering the increased range.
As ever, the BBJ will offer customization to its dedicated customers to help accommodate their personal tastes and preferences. The world’s leading provider of MRO services, Lufthansa Technik in Germany, has already established a VIP custom cabin concept for the BBJ Max, knocking up to 30% off of both production time and cost from as little as $20 million. But it is not just aesthetics and comfort that make the BBJ Max such a compelling model.
When it comes to the aspects of the plane many passengers will never see or even overtly notice, the BBJ Max excels. Innovative winglets and newly-positioned CFM International Leap-1B engines have led to significant reductions in fuel consumption, boasting a 14% increase in fuel efficiency. A more aerodynamic vertical stabilizer will make for a smoother experience onboard the BBJ Max.
Despite the improvements in terms of capacity, range and fuel efficiency, the BBJ Max doesn’t sacrifice the rudimentary aspects that have made the series great. It is just as reliable, if not more so, maintaining the same fundamentals that made the original BBJ great, including its impressive low cabin altitude. The latest model in the series also boasts lower emissions than its nearest competitor, making it difficult to see how Boeing will fail to maintain its iron grip on the market.
Indeed, the figures so far reflect the massive potential of the BBJ Max. The first order came in from an existing BBJ owner – reflecting the fact that the series hasn’t failed to impress – and the company expects to deliver the first official BBJ Max in 2018, less an interior. The customer in question will then choose a completion centre to complete his prized model. He is not the only one, though; reports are stating that the 737 Max, the family upon which the BBJ Max is based on, has already accumulated orders of 2,200 which is an amazing achievement for a model that is still years away from physically becoming available to the market.
Captain Steven Taylor, President of Boeing Business Jets, is certainly excited about not just the initial order but the subsequent potential of the BBJ Max.
“We are honored that an existing BBJ customer has become the first to select the BBJ MAX,” said Taylor. The BBJ MAX provides more room, longer range and emits fewer emissions than its nearest competition, making it an ideal choice for today’s BBJ customers.
“We expect a large demand for the BBJ Max, particularly for those BBJ owners who want to fly farther and more efficiently and still maintain the exceptional comfort of a BBJ.”
Confident words from a confident company. And rightly so. Boeing has an elite history across the face of aviation in general, but in particular, the BBJ Max’s lineage has a successful track record that has gone from strength to strength. This latest model doesn’t tamper too much with a proven formula, yet an astute design has led to the BBJ Max squeezing out the most from every aspect of the aircraft. With proven pedigree, optimum improvements and a healthy client base before the aircraft has even been completed, the future certainly looks bright for the BBJ Max.