As the US airframer prepares for entry into service of its 787 and 747-8, Boeing is taking steps to bring additional completion facility capacity online to accommodate the rise in engineering and supply chain demand for widebody completions.

Steve Taylor, president of Boeing Business Jets, says the first green 747-8I is to be delivered in the last two months of 2011, followed by the first 787 in the second quarter of 2012.

Taylor says half of the Boeing Business Jet backlog of 45 are widebody aircraft, including seven 747-8Is, 12 787s and three 777s.

Boeing is working to expand its completion centres partners to make way for expected overflow of demand with the added completion time for larger aircraft.

Boeing BBJ fleet
 © Boeing

The airframer is working with Comlux America, Altitude Aerospace Interiors, BaySys Technologies and L-3 VIP head of state interiors to shift narrowbody demand to relieve widebody pressure.

In January 2010, Boeing invited completion centres responsible for its widebody VIP aircraft to meet programme engineers to share information and better prepare for the extensive interior modification that will take place.

One question hanging over the head of both Airbus and Boeing remains the possible re-engining of the A320 and 737 families.

Taylor says the year-end decision on narrowbody development has the potential to change the BBJ market "dramatically" providing an increase in 10-15% improvement in fuel burn, boosting the BBJ's range to as much as 12,950km (7,000nm).

With its 45 aircraft backlog, Boeing is coming off of a tough 2009 that saw total orders drop from 198 aircraft a year ago to 192 today.

Taylor emphasises that Boeing sees China as a dominant growth market and recently delivered the first BBJ registered in China on 24 March in VVIP configuration to Beijing Capital Airlines, formerly Deer Jet, and is expected to take delivery of three additional BBJs it has on order.

Additionally, Boeing named Rene Gonzales, a 737 and 777 instructor pilot and US Air Force reserve B-52 pilot, was named chief pilot for the Boeing Business Jet business unit, replacing Taylor who assumed the BBJ presidency one year ago.

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Source: Flight Daily News