Boeing [NYSE: BA] Business Jets today announced it has received its first order from an operator in the People's Republic of China. Boeing did not reveal the identity of the operator at the customer's request.
"We are absolutely thrilled and confident that this order will be the first of many in the growing China market for VIP airplanes," said Steven Hill, BBJ president. "The order also brings us closer to our 100th sales order, which we hope to achieve before the end of the year."
With this order, the total number of BBJs ordered since the program's inception in 1996 is 98.
Of the 57 customers who have ordered these ultra-large-cabin jets, 39 percent are private individuals, 38 percent are government heads of state, 13 percent are corporate operators and 10 percent are operated by charter companies. There are currently 84 BBJs in service around the world. About 10 percent of BBJs delivered are based in the Asia Pacific region today.
"Over the next few years, we anticipate steady growth throughout Asia, and the BBJ's spacious cabin, long range and sophisticated communication systems make it an ideal airplane for that region," Hill said.
Boeing recently established a dedicated BBJ field service office in region. The field service office is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and provides technical support to BBJ operators in the Australasia region and India. All BBJ field service offices are backed by a network of more than 450 Boeing and GE support representatives on six continents.
The BBJ and BBJ 2 are high-performance derivatives of the commercially popular Next-Generation 737-700 and 737-800, respectively. Providing unsurpassed levels of space, comfort and utility, the BBJ cabin offers 807 square feet (75 square meters) of space, nearly three times the interior space of competing models with similar range capability. The BBJ 2 offers 25 percent more cabin space and twice as much cargo capacity as the BBJ.