Boeing Business Jets is testing the market for a corporate version of the 737-600 that would be priced to compete with large business jets. The joint venture is also looking at the 737-900 and sees some interest in a VIP version of the 787, says president Stephen Hill.

The company is taking a "hard look" at whether to offer the shorter 737-600 as a third member of the BBJ family. Rather than being a VIP or head-of-state aircraft like the 737-700-based BBJ and 737-800-based BBJ2, it "would compete more directly with transcontinental aircraft available today", says Hill. The aircraft has a range of 8,320-8,880km (4,500-4,800nm) with up to two extra fuel tanks only. To be competitive, Boeing has to aim at a price point for the completed aircraft of $40-45 million, says Hill. This would include an $8-9 million "business rather than luxury" interior. By comparison, the BBJ costs $44.5 million green, without interior, and the BBJ2 $54.5 million.

"We are testing the corporate market with the concept, but we have to hit a price point with the aircraft," says Hill. The company is working with completion centres to specify a simplified, 3,630kg (8,000lb) interior "like a Gulfstream interior scaled up by a factor of four", he says.

"We do not know what it will take to break into the US corporate market," says Hill. "Is it price or image and is the -600 still too large?" Interest in a BBJ version of the stretched 737-900, meanwhile, is coming from the Middle East. "It would give up some range," says Hill. "With tanks it would be up above 5,000nm." The company is also responsible for marketing Boeing airliners to VIP customers as green aircraft and is seeing interest in the 787-8.

Source: Flight International