Boeing has jumped ahead of rival Airbus in narrow-body business jet orders. Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced four orders for 737 Max-based business jets this week at the National Business Aviation Association Convention and Exhibition, in Las Vegas. Boeing now has nine orders for 737 Max-based Boeing Business Jets, or BBJs, putting it ahead of Airbus, which has six orders for its A320neo-based Airbus Corporate Jet aircraft.
The Max and neo are re-engined versions of the two builders’ competing narrow-body jets, the smallest and most popular model each company makes. David Longridge, president, Boeing Business Jets said that “2015 has been a really strong year for Boeing Business Jets. We have sold seven aircraft and we are not done yet."
The trend is the reverse of what's happening on the much-larger commercial side, where Airbus is now far ahead, with firm orders for 4,414 Airbus A320neo jets, versus the 2,931 firm orders Boeing has won for its 737 Max jets. Buyers for the four new BBJ Max 8 planes were undisclosed, with an order for three from one buyer in the Middle East, and one from a buyer in Asia. It’s customary for buyers of high-end personal jets like this to remain anonymous. The business jet sideline is a small but likely high-margin market for Boeing. The business jet sector is especially important for the 747 line, where individual buyers are a significant proportion of the 747-8 passenger models sold. The larger private jet models, including 767s, 777s, 787s, and 747s, are called Boeing VIP jets. Three 747-8 VIPs entered service this year, after lengthy and expensive conversions of their interiors to yacht-like quality, with extensive use of exotic woods and fabrics, sometimes gold, for discerning and wealthy buyers. Boeing has in total landed nine orders for 747-8 VIPs.