Mega-celebrities, super-rich sultans and mighty moguls are all partial to a nice shiny yet. Not content with a ‘normal’ twin jet engined private jet, bigger is better and the Boeing Business Jet is likely to be the order of the day. These BBJ’s as they’re known tend to be souped-up corporate airliners reconfigured and refitted internally to be as decadent as a royal residence and as unique as the buyer requests. From having living ferns decorate the walls, to having solid gold wash basins (Sultan of Brunei) these business types certainly know how to ‘live it up’. Although the name of the business jet would suggest they are produced solely by Boeing, in actuality they are a joint venture between General Electric and Boeing.
Originally the Boeing Business Jet was the traditional 737 with a modified airframe, and accommodated between 25 and 50 passengers in complete luxury. Since then additional models have been rolled-out to be part of the BBJ series, such as the jumbo 747, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Despite the different models, the whole BBJ series have modified airframes to the standard airliners. To increase fuel economy all 737 BBJ’s have blended winglets and incorporate air stairs to enable passengers to disembark at less well-equipped destinations. Additional fuel tanks have also been incorporated on the business jets to allow ETOPS (Extended Range Operations).
Although the Dreamliner has had a sketchy start with production delays and a series of technical issues that resulted in the grounding of the entire 787 fleet, when these issues are ironed out it will prove to be the most advanced and efficient aircraft included in the business jet offering by Boeing.
Designed as a mode of executive / presidential transport to whisk the high and mighty to far flung destinations in sheer decadence, I’m sure most ‘regular Joe’s’ wouldn’t have any problem at all in actually living on one of these! Many BBJs include bedrooms, bathrooms (with showers / baths), conference areas, dining facilities and any combination of the above that the customer can dream up.
When you’re shopping for your Boeing Business Jet you should decide whether you have the need for a narrow or wide-body airliner. In the narrow-body market there have been the BBJ1, BBJ2 and BBJC which were all based on different variants of the 737. If you’ve a need for quickly changing the load that you’re carrying then the BBJC may be the order of the day, as this features the ‘quick change’ facility, enabling fast reconfiguring for cargo hauling. These narrow-bodied jets can fly up to 41,000 feet at a cruising speed of around the 480kt mark.
If you have greater passenger requirements (or a larger wallet) then a wide-body might be more suited to your needs. These are the aircraft that in traditional airline service typically seat say 2-4-2 or 3-4-3, such as the Boeing 777 jet, 787 or 747. These jets are denoted ‘VIP’ and are delivered unfurnished so individual royal tastes can be accommodated. It is said that the Sultan of Brunei has spent more on the interior fittings to his BBJ than he did on the actual cost of the aircraft (it cost approximately $100 million to buy, and another $110m for interior furnishings allegedly). These wide-body business jets typically have a range of anywhere between 9,000 and 11,000 nautical miles.
There have been many purchasers of Boeing Business Jets from business moguls such as Donald Trump, rock-stars and film-stars (think Aerosmith et al), the royal elite of many countries around the world and of course not forgetting probably the most famous ‘business jet’, Air Force One.