NBAA: BBJ long range option under review

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Boeing is studying a 7000nm variant of the 737 Max-based Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) to compete with the ultra-long-range offerings from Bombardier and Gulfstream.

Boeing withheld launching a 737 Max 7 variant of the BBJ, even as the airframer announced the launch of the BBJ Max 8 and BBJ Max 9.

But the notional 737 Max 7 concept is still being seriously considered as the company's ultra-long-range option, says Steve Taylor, BBJ president.

The standard BBJ based on the 737-700 airframe and 737-800 wing has the longest range of the three current variants. By offering a re-engined BBJ Max 8, Boeing can increase the type's range by about 800nm, but that still falls about 650nm short of the 7,000nm target.

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 Boeing

By re-engining and re-winging a BBJ Max 7, Boeing could deliver an aircraft that offers similar range to the Gulfstream G650 and future Bombardier Global 7000.

"There is definitely a market out there for a 7,000nm range business jet," Taylor says. "With the [re-winged] Dash 7, we'd be out in that part of the market."

For its part, Airbus is also looking at a long-range version of the Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) A320. The airframer has not launched a re-engined ACJ A320neo, but it intends to deliver the first such type by at least 2019. It will look to expand the ACJ's range beyond 6,000nm, but it has no intention of beating the potential range of a BBJ Max 7.

"I think you want to achieve something higher than 6,000nm, but I don't think you need 7,000nm," says Francois Chazelle, ACJ Vice President. Instead, Airbus is focusing on connecting such city pairs as London to Hong Kong and New York to Dubai, which do not require 7,000nm range, Chazelle adds.