Boeing sees Middle East interest for its new BBJ777X corporate jet
US plane maker upbeat about China and Asia corporate jet markets despite US-China trade tensions
Boeing is on the hunt for customers for its ultra-long range corporate jet BBJ777X and has seen signs of interest from customers in the Middle East, its biggest market for business jets and home to the largest fleet of commercial widebodies.
The widebody jet would be a suitable fit for Middle East customers including heads of state, corporate clients and charter operators, Greg Laxton, head of Boeing Business Jets, told The National in Dubai on Monday. Boeing officially announced the introduction of the widebody BBJ777X to its business jets portfolio at the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) show in the emirate on Monday.
“We’ve definitely seen interest in the airplane,” Mr Laxton said. “There’s no limit to the city pairings, then there’s the large interior, efficiency, range and size.”
Of the two variants of the jet, the BBJ 777X-8 model offers the longer range of 21,570km for a price tag of $442.8 million. The BBJ777X-9 variant offers a larger cabin with 342.7 square metres for $453.6m. The Middle East is Boeing’s biggest corporate jet market with 29 per cent of its total plane orders, followed by North America with 25 per cent and Asia-Pacific with 22 per cent, according to a Boeing presentation at the show.
The Chicago-headquartered plane maker, facing escalating trade tensions between the US and China, is also upbeat on the corporate jets market in China and wider Asia-Pacific, Mr Laxton said.
“I’m very optimistic about the potential for Boeing business jets there,” he said. “Boeing hopes and supports both countries continuing to talk and work things out,” he said.
US president Donald Trump’s tit-for-tat with China worsened with the arrest in Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer over potential violations of US sanctions on Iran.
Rising trade tensions are hurting the global economy while implemented and threatened trade tariffs could wipe out a third of global gross domestic product by 2020, the International Monetary Fund has warned. It urged G20 leaders to de-escalate trade tensions and reverse trade tariff increases or risk a slowdown in the global economy from protectionism.
Mr Laxton said he is “not overly concerned” about a possible deceleration in global economic growth as business has remained “steady” in the region and worldwide.
Updated: December 11, 2018 11:24 AM