Boeing Business Jets announced that it is offering a new, more spacious BBJ. The new product is a business jet version of the Boeing's next-generation 737-900ER commercial jetliner. It offers 35 per cent more cabin space than the BBJ and 11 per cent more than the BBJ2.
The company has sold a programme total of 102 BBJs, surpassing its goal to reach 100 orders before the end of the year. The company says that the latest orders for five aircraft came from various worldwide locations, including the Middle East.
"While BBJ and BBJ2 are meeting needs for ultra-long range travel, our customers, especially those in the Middle East, have told us that they want an even bigger aircraft," said BBJ president Steven Hill.
He made the announcement at the Dubai Air Show in November, noting that it was a fitting location to announce the news, given that the manufacturer expects wide appeal in the region.
Boeing says that 26 per cent of the BBJ worldwide fleet is based in the Middle East. The majority of BBJ2s have been ordered from the region and they make up almost half of the area's BBJ fleet.
With the launch order, the aircraft will be named the BBJ3. It has up to five auxiliary fuel tanks, giving it a maximum range of 4,765 nautical miles. It will also offer 1,120 square feet of cabin space.
Steven Hill also announced that Boeing has plans to produce a vip version of the company's 787 aircraft. The aircraft will have 2,300 square feet of cabin space, which is double the space in a BBJ. With a range of 10,400 nm, it will be able to carry up to 75 passengers non-stop to most worldwide destinations.
"We have had a lot on interest in this aircraft from customers and completion centres. Various completion centres have been invited to Seattle to take part in a conference to determine what the green 787 will look like," said Hill.
Since the launch of the BBJ programme in 1996, 69 customers have ordered 89 BBJs and 13 BBJ 2s. Private individuals comprise 40 per cent of the BBJ customer base; 36 per cent are government heads of state; 14 per cent are corporate operators and the remaining 10 per cent are charter operators.
The 83 BBJs that are in service worldwide are supported by seven authorised service centres, including three in Europe, two in the US and one each in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region.