Dubai-based corporate jet conversion specialist Project Phoenix has selected the Boeing 737-800 as the platform for its planned entry to the VIP narrowbody market.

The company revealed plans at the Dubai air show in November to compete against the big airframers with its own version of either the A319-based Airbus Corporate Jet or the 737-derived Boeing Business Jet.

It has since "homed in on the 737-800 series", says company president Mike Cappuccitti. An absence of ageing aircraft issues is among the attractions cited by Cappuccitti, along with the type's winglets, "modern" avionics, and range approaching 10,360km (5,600nm) when auxiliary fuel tanks are deployed.

Boeing BBJ2
 © Boeing
Project Phoenix aims to compete with Boeing BBJs and Airbus ACJs with its planned entry to the VIP narrowbody market

"It's a very efficient airplane," says Cappuccitti. "Size-wise, it competes with the BBJ2, as opposed to the [737]-700, which competes with the BBJ1. We wanted to get in the middle there." He expects "more and more" 737-800s to be available for sale "over time".

Responses to a request for information issued to "about six" completion facilities with 737-800 capability are expected by May's EBACE business aviation convention in Geneva.

Project Phoenix already offers a Bombardier CRJ200 conversion programme, on which it has partnered Canadian completions house Flying Colours. So far, one Phoenix CRJ200 has been sold, to a Macau-based businessman. It was delivered in October.

Source: Flight International