So, how big should a business jet be? As big as it can get, apparently. Airbus announced an order for six as yet not prototyped A350 extra-wide-body aircraft to MAZ Aviation, which represents clients in the Middle East. The deal is worth $1.5 billion. As little as six months ago, Boeing and Airbus were heavily promoting the smallest aircraft in their airliner lineups as super-sized business aircraft. At EBACE 2008, both companies unveiled product strategies, manufacturing slot arrangements and spiffy cutaway models for private configurations of their full product lines, including 747-8 and A380 aircraft.
The Airbus order is remarkable but the greater issue is availability of the aircraft for conversion to the leather, dining table, bedroom and shower motif. According to Boeing and Airbus, the business jet sides of their companies have dedicated slots with guaranteed delivery dates to completion centers. The aircraft are delivered "green" and completion can add tens or hundreds of millions to the cost.