In February 2001, the owner of the first-ever Boeing Business Jet 2 had just taken delivery of his new aircraft at Seattle’s Boeing Field when, 10 minutes before takeoff, the ground began to tremble. For nearly a minute, the region shook and shivered, struck by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked buildings, knocked out power, and damaged the Boeing Field runway, delaying the BBJ 2’s departure for three days.
Fortunately this shaky start has not proven a bad omen for Boeing Business Jets’ next-generation jet. Introduced in October 1999 in response to customers’ requests for additional cabin space, the BBJ 2 is a Boeing 737-800 with a fuselage 19.2 feet longer than that of the original BBJ, which is a 737-700. Boeing Business Jets delivered five BBJ 2s last year and projects that the new jet will account for 25 percent of the company’s annual sales. “It’s the space,” says Trish York, Boeing Business Jets communications director, when comparing the Boeing jets to the competition. “If you look at a BBJ next to a Gulfstream V, there’s three times the interior space. The BBJ 2 adds 20 feet and 25 percent more interior space for not a whole lot more money.”
Space was the primary consideration for Multiflight Ltd., a fixed-based operator (FBO) at Leeds Bradford International Airport in England, which purchased a BBJ 2 that will enter service in early 2003. Multiflight, which will charter the plane to corporations and private individuals, also considered the Bombardier Global Express, the Dassault Falcon 900EX, and the Airbus Corporate Jetliner. They all met the long-distance requirement, but Multiflight chose the BBJ 2, which has a range of approximately 6,600 miles and a cruising speed of 550 mph, because of its roomy interior. “It was mainly because of the space,” says Peter Campbell, Multiflight project manager. “You can do so much with it. The other aircraft, except for the Airbus, really didn’t compare in that respect.”
Multiflight commissioned Andrew Winch Design, a British firm that specializes in yacht interiors, to work on the BBJ 2’s interior. The plane, which can seat as many as 19 passengers, has a master bedroom, a private office, an exercise area, two bathrooms with showers, a dining area, a galley, and two lounges—one of which converts to a surround-sound theater. Each passenger has a phone, fax, and Internet connection at his or her seat. “It’s a comprehensive office,” says Campbell, “but it’s slanted more toward luxury.”
Boeing Business Jets, 206.655.9800, www.boeing.com/commercial/bbj