Boeing Business Jets has sold three of the new BBJ Max models in Greater China, “and we think that’s just a start,” said company president David Longridge at a press conference at the ABACE show on Monday. This year marks 20 years since the BBJ program was introduced, and there are currently 21 BBJs in service in Greater China.“Over the past 20 years its fair to say that China has grown immensely in its significance to our marketplace here at BBJ,” said Longridge.
Chinese orders currently represent approximately one-third of all the BBJ Maxes sold. “Our focus on the Chinese market has paid dividends,” he told reporters. “We’re just going to keep our steady approach. We’d be very happy indeed if we could sell two or three aircraft a year into the Chinese BBJ market.”The Max is the latest version of the legacy 737 product line and features CFM International Leap-1B turbofans and Boeing’s own advanced technology winglets. Those features combine with other aerodynamic and weight-saving measures to increase efficiency by 10- to 15 percent.Boeing is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and as Longridge told the audience yesterday, its involvement with China goes back to the very beginning; the first engineer hired by William Boeing was Wong Tsu, a Chinese national who helped design the company’s first commercially successful airplane, the Model C.In addition, in 1935 the company sold the first airliner in private service, a Model 247, to a Chinese customer. “Eighty-one years ago we delivered the first airliner in corporate service to China, and we look forward to another 100 years of delivering BBJs and corporate airliners into the Chinese market,” Longridge said.
On the support side, Boeing Business Jets has a dedicated field service representative based in Beijing. The company provides individual support for customers throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft. This starts with the sale and financing process, continues through the interior completion cycle and extends to the aircraft’s operating life with maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) support.“We work closely with our customers in China to figure out how best to support them, whether that be delivering a green [uncompleted] airplane, managing the interior completion process or delivering a completed turnkey product,” Longridge said.Here at the show, the company is inviting guests to visit the privately owned BBJ on static display. While the vast majority of BBJs are delivered “green” to customers who then negotiate their completion, this aircraft, delivered at the end of 2015, was supplied with a turnkey interior, a first for a Chinese BBJ, by Sabena Technics.
Further underscoring Boeing’s commitment to the Greater China region, the company announced last week that it is expanding its training capabilities at its Flight Services campus here in Shanghai. To serve both airline and business aviation operations, the facility is adding a Next-Generation 737 full-motion simulator and maintenance training classroom. According to Boeing’s 2015 pilot and technician outlook, China will need to add 100,000 pilots and 106,000 technicians by 2034.