The region now hosts a fleet of 55 BBJs of all kinds, mostly the smaller BBJ1 but including the world’s only VVIP BBJ 787 Dreamliner available for charter, operated by Beijing-based Deer Jet. That’s just over a quarter of the 201 BBJs currently in service around the world.
Greater China has nearly tripled its BBJ fleet in the last five years to 29 aircraft. “It’s been the strongest market for new and used aircraft for the last few years,” says new BBJ chief Greg Laxton, who is making his public debut here at ABACE. “Of those aircraft, about two-thirds are new and one-third pre-owned,” he says.
Laxton notes that worldwide BBJ orders now stand at 243, of which 219 have been delivered (about 18 of those are not yet in service but are being outfitted to customer specifications in completion centers). The tally includes 14 orders for the new-generation BBJ MAX; seven of those are for customers in Asia Pacific, including four in Greater China. First deliveries of “green” MAXs will be late next year, with completions taking another several months.
“A number of customers don’t want to wait that long – they want a BBJ now,” says Laxton. And that explains the strength of demand for pre-owned aircraft in China.
About 42% of pre-owned BBJ sales in the last five years have been to the China market, he notes.
In December BBJ announced the first sale of its smallest aircraft, the MAX 7, to Singapore’s Orient Global Aviation, which will use it to replace its BBJ1 NG. The BBJ MAX 7’s cabin is 76-in (1.93 meters) longer than a BBJ1 and has 800 nm more range at 7,000 nm, enabling it to connect key city pairs such as Dubai-New York that were not possible in the BBJ1. The first “green” MAX 7 will be delivered in 2022.
BBJ expects to announce at the show that it has appointed Beijing’s Ameco as an Authorized Service Center, the 10th in the world and greatly facilitating maintenance of BBJs in China.
(Aviation Week Network)