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Frontiers August 2014 Issue

Birth of the BBJ Editor’s note: In an interview shortly before he retired from Boeing in April 2002, Borge Boeskov, the first president of Boeing Business Jets, recounted the program’s birth to James Wallace, then–aerospace writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. Wallace now is editor of Frontiers; Boeskov died in 2004. Here, Wallace recalls their conversation, and the dinner that led to the creation of a new Boeing business line. more fuel and thus more range. Welch was enthusiastic about the idea and told Condit their companies should become partners, with GE supplying the engines. The joint venture was announced on July 2, 1996, in New York City. Condit and Boeskov arrived early that day and had lunch with Welch before the announcement. Welch wanted to know how many business jets Boeing thought it could sell in a year, in case the question came up during the news conference. Boeskov told Welch that Boeing had internally forecast it could sell six to eight planes a year. Mentioning a single-digit sales number was “never” a good idea, Welch replied. He suggested they tell the media Boeing expected to sell at least 10 jets a year. And that was the figure announced at the news conference. To date, customers have ordered 217 Boeing Business Jets—or about 12 a year. n james.a.wallace4@boeing.com It started with a conversation between old friends. In early 1996, Phil Condit, then– Boeing president, was having dinner with General Electric boss Jack Welch when Welch mentioned he had been considering using one of Boeing’s Next-Generation 737-600s as a business jet. But it didn’t have enough range, Welch said. The airplane was among those that had been ordered by GE through the company’s leasing arm, GE Capital. A few days later, Condit telephoned Borge Boeskov, vice president of product strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and told Boeskov about his dinner talk with Welch about business jets, and his concerns about the lack of range of the 737-600. Could Boeing do better, Condit asked. About a week later, Boeskov had an answer—a business jet that would use the fuselage of the 737-700 and the bigger wing of the 737-800 for 18 Frontiers August 2014


Frontiers August 2014 Issue
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