Boeing Co. (BA) will begin offering its single-aisle 737 Max as a private jet and expects the new plane’s longer range to help capture more wealthy customers.
The Max-8, which has attracted airlines with fuel savings, will give private buyers a range of 6,325 nautical miles (11,700 kilometers), or about 800 miles more than the similar-sized aircraft available now, Steven Taylor, president of Boeing Business Jets, said in an interview. Boeing, based in Chicago, also intends later to offer a business jet based on the larger 737 Max-9.
“For our customers in our market, the range improvement is really the thing that’s going to be a big sell,” he said in an interview. “This allows you to open up additional city pairs.”
Orders for Boeing business jets have slumped even while commercial jet sales have increased as airlines seek to cut fuel bills and air traffic rebounds. From 2009 through 2011, Boeing has received orders for only 14 business jets, lower than 22 jets in 2008 alone, the planemaker said.
The new plane, along with an economic recovery, may help attract buyers, Taylor said. Since beginning in 1996, Boeing’s business jet unit has tallied 206 orders based on the company’s commercial models ranging from the 737 to its jumbo 747. The larger aircraft are often purchased by heads of state.
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