Boeing BBJ Max 8
Customer interest in the BBJ Max 8 has surged since the Boeing Max airliner's return to service. (Image: Boeing Business Jets)

BBJ Sales Are Off The Charts

Boeing witnessed record demand for its private bizliners early this year, and values have skyrocketed for the minimal used inventory.

Boeing Business Jets appears to have weathered the most damaging effects of the grounding of the 737 Max airliner and the subsequent COVID crisis, as the company recently reported that it has now met all delivery commitments to date. Collecting four orders for BBJs this year, Boeing's business aviation division has in fact benefited from pent-up demand for business jets during the pandemic and has entered advanced negotiations for further BBJ Max and widebody BBJ contracts, according to its president, Erika Pearson.

The company plans to deliver two more green BBJ Maxs this year, followed by another three in the first half of 2023, noted Pearson, who explained that interest has only increased with the record low inventory of used BBJs. “There are only a few preowned BBJs on the market,” she said. “We are also having conversations with new prospective customers directly.” In short, demand has increased well above historic averages.

“In [contrast] to commercial aviation, interest in BBJs and other business jets of all sizes grew during the pandemic, and high-income travelers are chartering private jets now more than ever,” said Pearson. “Flying private helps passengers avoid the most congested airports, eliminate high-touch screenings such as TSA point checkpoints or luggage drop-off counters, and minimize contact with other travelers in terminals and on planes. VIP travelers are also finding that chartering a private airplane may be more affordable than previously thought.”

The ensuing “major spike” in demand for both new and used BBJs has resulted in inflated values, sometimes as much as 50 percent above published current market values.

“We also continue to see significant interest in our widebody, ultra-long-range BBJs: the BBJ 787 and 777-9,” commented Pearson, who noted that customers can choose from both sizes of the 777X, the longer fuselage, carbon-fiber-winged upgrade to the 777-300ER scheduled for introduction in 2025. “BBJ is the gold standard of the ultra-large widebody business jet. Approximately 75 percent of widebody business jets sold in the last 21 years have been Boeing Business Jets, including the BBJ 747, BBJ 787, and BBJ 777.”

Inside the main deck of the BBJ 777-9, the first bizjet variant of the 777X to come to market, customers get 3,689 square feet of cabin space, enough to accommodate many interior options for bedrooms, recreational areas, and a large dining room for corporate customers. Likewise, heads of state will enjoy ample space for a large staff and communications and security teams.

The executive version of the 787 airframe, which has accounted for at least 16 of Boeing Business Jets’ 260 sales over its 25-year history, carries a 2,775-square-foot cabin while its 9,485-nautical-mile range can link London to Sydney or Tokyo to Cape Town, South Africa, nonstop. Jet Aviation redelivered its first BBJ 787 completion last year, and the cabin, designed by an outside firm, features several new design elements and “an exceptionally low cabin noise level," according to the completions company.

Supplemental humidification, an advanced three-stage air filtration system, and a quieter and lower-altitude cabin are additional enhancements. Also, the dual-axis stability system, developed for the 787, delivers a smoother ride.

Meanwhile, trends in cabin preference have seen Boeing’s 10 licensed completion centers around the world support engineers’ efforts to meet the demand for private rooms with the walk-by aisle not available in smaller business jets, higher-speed and more reliable Wi-Fi, and more convenient connector and charger locations, and what Pearson called wireless gadgets to control the cabin more easily.

Separately, the company has seen increased demand for the BBJ’s low-altitude cabin. “As the only bizliner that offers this, BBJ finds high interest in this feature, as well as supplemental humidification systems,” she noted.