A Jet Aviation-designed BBJ 777X sample interior. (Jet Aviation)
Boeing is converting its 777 series airliner into a long-range, wide-body business jet.
The BBJ 777-8 has a range of 11,645 nautical miles, enough to fly more than halfway around the world and, as such, between any two major cities. The larger BBJ 777-9 will sacrifice about 650 nm of range in exchange for an extra 433 square feet of cabin space, bringing its total to 3,256 sq ft. Either jet will be able to make the commercial airline record 18.5-hour, 8,300-nm Singapore-to-New York route that Singapore Airlines started offering earlier this year with plenty of range to spare.
"Our most exclusive customers want to travel with the best space and comfort and fly directly to their destination," Greg Laxton, head of Boeing Business Jets, said at the Middle East Business Aviation Association show where the new jet was revealed on Monday. "The new BBJ 777X will be able to do this like no other airplane before it, redefining ultra-long range VIP travel."
Boeing displayed sample interiors from design firms Jet Aviation, Unique Aircraft Design and Greenpoint Technologies, including bedrooms, lounges, smart furniture and space for more than 40 passengers.
The BBJ 777X will follow the same timeline as the commercial 777X program, according to a Boeing representative, with the first flight scheduled in 2019 and first 777-9 delivery planned for 2020, several years ahead of the first 777-8 airline customer delivery. BBJ customers will "take delivery positions as available" in the 777X delivery timeline.