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Boeing, GE to Build Mid-Size Business Jet

July 03, 1996|From Reuters

Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. said Tuesday that they have formed a joint venture to develop a medium-sized business jet that can fly nonstop between continents and be easily reconfigured by different users.

Financial terms of the venture were not disclosed.

GE will be a minority participant and the plane's first customer, ordering two of the jets for corporate use.

Delivery of GE's first plane is scheduled for the end of 1998, the companies said.

The Seattle-based venture, called Boeing Business Jets, was formed in response to demand for a business airplane that can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles, the firms said.

The jet, derived from the next-generation Boeing 737-700, will include an interior with more flexibility than other corporate jets, the companies said. The 737, the best-selling commercial jetliner ever, is usually used for shorter and intermediate-length routes.

"Customers will be able to configure their airplane for each trip-as a meeting center, communication post, traveling hotel or employee transport in order to accommodate all of their unique trip requirements," said Philip M. Condit, Boeing's chief executive.

The airplane will cruise at speeds up to 550 mph and will be able to serve such routes as New York to Tokyo and London to Johannesburg, South Africa. It will seat as many as 63 passengers and accommodate a 12-person conference.

It will also offer sleeping quarters.

Boeing said it hopes to sell about 10 of the jets a year for about $35 million each.

The actual price of each will vary depending on the interiors.

Condit told a news conference that the investment in the project was "pretty darn small, simply because we have all these pieces."

The airplane will be powered by the CFM56 jet engine, produced by CFM International, jointly owned by GE and Snecma of France.

Boeing Commercial Airplane Group will provide planes to Boeing Business Jets, which will then deliver them to a customer-selected completion center, the companies said.

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