Malaysia Airlines Is First Asia Customer For Boeing Business Jet

Malaysia Airlines, the national airline of Malaysia, today announced it has purchased a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) -- making it the first BBJ customer in Asia.

The announcement was made by Malaysia Airlines Executive Chairman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli at a signing ceremony during the opening day of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aviation Exposition in Malaysia. Present at the ceremony were the prime minister of Malaysia, the honorable Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, and Borge Boeskov, president of Boeing Business Jets.

The order from Malaysia Airlines is one of 29 total announced orders for the BBJ since its launch in July 1996 as the product of a joint venture between The Boeing Company and General Electric Co. (GE). This year alone, Boeing Business Jets has booked 26 orders.

Today's announcement places Malaysia Airlines among an exclusive list of global corporations, heads of state and private individuals who publicly have acknowledged their commitment to acquire the BBJ as a vital tool in the management of their business activities. This list includes General Electric; golfer and global businessman Greg Norman; and PrivatAir, a Geneva-based private jet-charter operator. Other BBJ customers have chosen to remain anonymous, which often is typical of private business-jet transactions.

Additionally, Boeing Business Jets and Executive Jet Inc. of Montvale, N.J., recently announced a joint venture that will provide customers with fractional-share ownership of Boeing Business Jets. The number of airplanes involved in the joint venture has not yet been announced.

Malaysia Airlines is the first of many expected customers in Asia to announce their purchase for the new Boeing Business Jet, Boeskov said.

"We are extremely proud to welcome Malaysia Airlines into the Boeing Business Jet family of premier corporations," Boeskov said. "As a leader in the industry, and the first customer in Asia for this new airplane, this announcement by Malaysia Airlines will have a very positive influence on the decision-making process of other corporations."

Malaysia Airlines' Executive Chairman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli said, "We are very pleased to be the first customer in Asia to announce the purchase of the new Boeing Business Jet. Our market and responsibilities continue to expand significantly and we must plan today for further developments in the future.

"The Boeing Business Jet is a magnificent airplane, incorporating the latest developments in cost-effective technology and customer-pleasing features, which will act as a key tool in the management of our regional and international operations well into the next century. The new BBJ, with its range, extra space and unequaled customer support from Boeing, will be the ideal aircraft for us to effectively manage our businesses and support our customer requirements," he added.

The BBJ combines the size of the 737-700 fuselage (33.6 meters) with strengthened wings and landing gear of the larger 737-800. This tailored combination boosts the jet's range to 6,200 nautical miles (7,140 statute miles, 11,480 kilometers).

The BBJ's 807-square-foot passenger cabin can be configured to include executive offices and boardrooms; and individual work, rest and exercise areas that match a customer's personal travel preference.

The price for an unfurnished "green" Boeing Business Jet is $33.75 million (1997 $US). Typically, a completed and equipped business jet will cost approximately $40 million at delivery. The first BBJ is scheduled to roll out of the Renton, Wash., factory in mid-1998, with first delivery in the fall.