The Business Jets division of Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) announced Monday that it had received orders for four new business jets at a trade show in Las Vegas. Three of the orders are from an undisclosed customer from the Middle East for three plans, and one new order is for an unnamed Asian customer. All orders were written for the BBJ MAX 8.
The 737 MAX family is scheduled for its first flight in early 2016, and the new family is responsible for nine orders already on the books for the BBJ MAX 8 and the BBJ MAX 9. So far in 2015, the company has delivered four BBJs and three BBJ 747-8s.
Since 1996 Boeing has taken orders for 235 business jets and delivered 213. Of the totals, 164 have been orders for the company’s BBJ and 160 of those planes have been delivered. Among the planes remaining to be delivered are four BBJs, two 777s, six 787s, and one 747-8, not including the new orders.
Boeing appointed a new president of its business jet division late last year and plans to build on the 10 deliveries the group built in 2014 and the 13 planes it delivered last year. Boeing plans to deliver 11 green airplanes to completion centers in 2015 and seven business jets have entered service this year.
The company has also been examining the potential for a combination cargo-passenger jet that Boeing calls a “Combi.” The market for the plane would government or industrial customers that need to transport heavy equipment along with a support team. Mining and oil and gas industries are definite possibilities, but the company will need to find a launch customer before it begins developing such a plane.
While not a high-volume business, customized business jets are a high-margin variation on the standard configurations for commercial planes. Boeing arch-rival Airbus also sells business jets, and the two makers of large commercial planes also compete against smaller rivals like Gulfstream, the business jet maker owned by General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD) and Canada-based Bombardier.
Boeing’s stock traded up about 0.8% just after the noon hour on Monday, at $143.66 in a 52-week range of $115.14 to $158.83.