Like most of business aviation, operations are booming for “bizliners” (airliners in bizjet-style configuration). The Boeing Business Jets division briefed the press at the NBAA-BACE event in Orlando, Florida, on Oct. 17, and had lots of good news to report for their corner of the industry. Marketing director Alex Feteau navigated through a series of charts showing how overall flight activity has more than recovered from the pandemic (15 to 20 percent higher), while commercial airlines are still operating at less than 80 percent of their pre-COVID schedules.
Feteau wasn’t shy about Boeing’s dominance in the Americas bizliner market. The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) line accounts for 111 of 117 aircraft in service in the region (the remaining seven are presumably Airbus Corporate Jets—ACJs). While only 7 percent of the BBJ fleet is operated by the charter market, he went on to make the sales pitch for charter operators choosing a BBJ over a traditional business jets. His approach mirrored the title of the 1965 Clint Eastwood film, “For a Few Dollars More.” Among other factors, the display screen illustrated the difference in cabin size between the BBJ and more traditional business jets.
According to Boeing’s graph, per-hour charter rates for BBJs are less than $4,000 greater than those for a New-Gen, Long-Range business jet, a difference of about 30 percent. He went on to argue that the per-hour direct operating costs of a BBJ are actually significantly lower than those for a traditional business jet—accounted for mostly by lower maintenance and crew-training expenses, among other factors, he said. And Feteau confirmed that the numbers on the Boeing graph represent a low-utilization maintenance program typically used for airliner-type aircraft that are not operated on the punishing airline schedule, such as privately configured regional jets. Finally, he made the case that residual values of BBJs make them a good long-term investment for charter operators. Still, the bizliner segment is not exactly a high-unit-sales proposition. Erika Pearson, Boeing Business Jet president, said there were two deliveries scheduled this year, both Max 8 variants, but she would not specify when more were on the delivery schedule.