Boeing Business Jets is analysing whether to introduce an increased gross weight (IGW), VIP version of the 737 Max 7 or Max 8 with 7,000nm (13,000km) range as early as 2021.
“I will say I don’t know exactly what the final answer might be,” says BBJ president Steve Taylor, speaking at a press conference at NBAA.
Currently, Boeing offers a BBJ based on an IGW version of the 737-700 that includes the wing and landing gear from the 737-800. The extra lifting and landing capacity allows Boeing to install auxiliary fuel tanks in the aircraft’s belly, extending the range of the BBJ to 6,160nm.
The company is considering taking the same approach with the 737 Max family.
BBJ President Steve Taylor. Image credit: Billypix
“The -700IGW that we sell today has an -800 wing center-section and landing gear,” Taylor says. “So the most likely scenario is we would do something similar to that using a -8 wing on a -7 body.”
Such a configuration would open the BBJ Max version to new city pairs requiring 7,000nm range for reliable service year-round, including Hong Kong-London and Dubai-Washington DC, he says.
On the other hand, the current BBJ requires installing a special, lightweight interior, which enables the aircraft to take-off with a full load of fuel, Taylor says.
A 7,000nm-range, BBJ variant of the 737 Max 8 would offer customers more options for conventional cabin interiors.
“The other airplane we’re looking at is putting a [737 Max]-9 wing on a -8 body,” Taylor says.
Boeing has done something similar before. The P-8A Poseidon for the US Navy includes a 737-900 wing on the 737-800 fuselage.
A potential disadvantage in the VIP aircraft market is the higher price point of the a 737 Max 8-derived BBJ, versus a 737 Max-based aircraft, he says.
The 7,000nm-range BBJ is one of a “few” narrowbody aircraft concepts that Boeing is evaluating to introduce in 2021, following the entry into commercial service of the 737 Max 8, Max 9 and Max from 2017.
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