Boeing BBJ3: Now Super-Sized

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In the business aviation world represented here at Orlando this week, there are aircraft of almost every type, color and purpose. There are small ones, fast ones, slow ones, pretty ones and ugly ones, but there are no purpose-built business jets bigger than the Boeing Business Jet, or BBJ. And, now, there are three different versions. First announced at the Dubai Air Show in Nov. 2005 and based on the commercial 737-900ER, Boeing this week said it had two orders from undisclosed customers -- Boeing never sells and tells -- for its newest offering, the BBJ3. If size matters, the BBJ3 will probably win: it offers 1,120 sq. ft. of cabin space, 35 percent more than the original BBJ (derived from the 737-700's fuselage and the 737-800's wing and landing gear) and is 11 percent larger than the BBJ2, the big parts of which are all based on the -800.

All versions of the BBJ are still available from Boeing -- some 114 copies have been sold to date -- with the original featuring the longest range, some 6,200 nm, and the BBJ2 and BBJ3 going for the greatest cabin volume.

That's the good news. In our if-you-have-to-ask category comes the bad news: even the lowly but long-legged BBJ will set you back $48 million, and that's for a green, uncompleted airplane. The BBJ2 rings the register at $58 million while the BBJ3 will put a $64.5 million hole in your wallet. Figure another $10 million for a rather pedestrian interior -- $20 million for a cabin with all the bells and whistles. At those prices, we may have to wait.