05 February 2014

Icarus Goes Upscale

There once was a movie (1965), "Boeing, Boeing", a farce (it had to be, of course) starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis.
Bernard's life is turned upside down when his girlfriends' airlines begin putting new, state-of-the-art aircraft into service. These faster airplanes change all of the existing route schedules and allow the stewardesses to spend more time in Paris. Most alarming for Bernard, his three girlfriends will now all be in Paris at the same time.

Bernard is the protagonist (Curtis) and the "state-of-the-art" aircraft is the 707, which, by the way, started life as an Air Force kerosene tanker. Gummint paid all the development costs, and Boeing cashed in with a civilian plane for, basically, nada.

Fast forward to today's news. Boeing has been developing its plastic airplane, the 787 for about a decade with notable "Oopsies" along the way. What I never knew, until the news today, was that a plane built to haul 296 human/cattle could be had as a "Business Jet". Yessiree, pardner. This has a list price in the vicinity of $200 million. That's the price of the conventional plane. The "Business Jet" is delivered sans interior:
Boeing Business Jets delivers the airplanes to customers unpainted and without an interior. A completion center of the customer's choosing installs the jet's VIP interior.

I suspect the VIP interior will end up costing more than a bunch of minuscule seats.

If ever there were a "let them eat cake" gauntlet toss down by the 1% at the rest of us, that would be it.
"It's terrific to see two BBJ 787s deliver within a week," said Capt. Steve Taylor, president, Boeing Business Jets. "The BBJ 787 joins the BBJ family, a full line of the most capable airplanes in the VIP market. The 787's combination of phenomenal range, high cruise speed, low cabin altitude, big windows and ultra-quiet cabin make the 787 ideal for BBJ customers."

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