Several years ago when Boeing launched its bizjet spinoff, nobody knew whether the idea of taking a commercial jet and reworking it for the business/VIP market would work. There is no longer any question about it. Since the launch of its business, Boeing Business Jets has expanded its lineup to include two other models of 737 to create the BBJ2 and BBJ3.
This past year the company has folded-in several more commercial models, including the 757 and the emerging 747-8 jumbo jet and the 787 composite construction Dreamliner.
It also announced a fourth 737 model, the BBJC, would soon join the fleet. The -C is a 737 that features a large side door that allows the airplane to be converted from passenger to cargo to medical, or to some mixed-use configuration, overnight. The company sees the option as particularly attractive in the government market, especially for smaller countries, because it will allow the head-of-state airplane to be used for multiple missions, including humanitarian ones.
To say that business for BBJ is brisk is a huge understatement. Since last year’s NBAA Convention, the company has taken orders for 16 BBJ, two BBJ2, three BBJ3, two 747-8 VIP and seven 787-VIP aircraft. And with the worldwide boom for Boeing Commercial, the availability of BBJs of all descriptions is very tight. The next available 747-8 VIP and 787 VIP will be in 2013 and 2016 respectively.