October 21, 2013
The market for large bizjets is not brisk, but Boeing remains ahead of its rivals. Deliveries of VIP 747-8s and 787s are, at last, imminent.
“We are selling enough to keep the system working.” Perhaps not what the stock market would have liked to hear from Steve Taylor, President, Boeing Business Jets, when he addressed the media at the opening of the NBAA Convention, but an honest enough appraisal of the current marketplace and the BBJ’s place in it.
That said, Taylor lost no time in placing Boeing’s position in context. Its main rival, Airbus, is unable to compare in sales of both narrow- and widebody business jets – especially the latter sector, in which 20 have been sold since 1996, compared with 38 Boeings: eight 767s, six 777s, 12 787s and 12 747s.
Of the large bizjet market as a whole, says Taylor, BBJs alone have 57% and Boeing widebodies a further 20%.
And more are coming along. The first 787 VIP will be delivered to a customer before the end of the year; ditto the initial 747-8, somewhat belatedly, in the second quarter of 2014. The overall scorecard shows Boeing to have sold 211 business jets and delivered 186 to date, including 159/148 of the BBJ (737NG) family. Since the last NBAA Convention, that’s four sales, nine deliveries to completion centers and four into customers’ service.
Taylor disclosed that an existing BBJ customer is close to signing the first purchase agreement for a 737 MAX-derived business jet, to be delivered in 2018, shortly after the first of this latest version is delivered to an airline. This will be a MAX 8.
In the slightly longer term, an increased gross weight (IGW) BBJ MAX is under study. Configuration is, as yet, undecided but will be either a 737 MAX 7 fuselage and -8 wing, or -8 body mated to a -9 wing.