The Boeing Business Jet 3 is not just bigger than its predecessor; it is better. Announced last November, this mammoth aircraft, based on the highly advanced Boeing 737-900ER airframe, includes an extra helping of everything that made the Boeing Business Jet 2 Robb Report’s Best of the Best selection in 2004. In particular, Boeing has boosted the BBJ3’s ultralong-range capability to about 5,500 miles and increased the size of its already spacious cabin, making it an airplane for those who expect to spend quality time in the sky.
At 1,120 square feet, the new cabin is 11 percent larger than the BBJ2’s and 35 percent larger than that of the original BBJ. Suitably configured, the BBJ3 can become a portable home and office suite that includes a king-size bed, a fully equipped kitchen, and several private compartments for family, friends, and associates. The plane has a cargo capacity of as much as 1,595 cu ft (depending on the number of auxiliary fuel tanks), and the maximum takeoff weight is a substantial 187,700 pounds. Because the jet is based on Boeing’s venerable 737, a workhorse for airlines throughout the world, dependability is a given.
The BBJ3 is expected to go into service in the first half of next year, following an initial flight that is scheduled for August. Boeing is pricing the aircraft at $62.5 million, but plan on spending another $10 million to $20 million in completion costs once you take delivery of the airplane. Some completions—for example, those featuring multiple lavatories with marble countertops and gold fixtures—can run well north of $20 million.
Beyond acquisition and operating costs, the BBJ’s size is its only Achilles’ heel: It is not welcome at some airports because of physical limitations or local politics.
Boeing has sold more than 100 BBJs since launching the program in 1996. After recently adding an authorized service center in Dubai, Boeing now has eight such locations: three in Europe, two in the United States, one in Singapore, and two in the Middle East, where a good number of Boeing owners reside.