VIP Transports

From: (Terrell D. Drinkard)
Date:         17 Jan 94 01:33:50 PST
Organization: Boeing Commercial Airplane Group
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Given the interest in Air Force One, and perhaps in other VIP uses of
heavy jet transports I thought I'd relate what little I've picked up
over the last couple of years.

Boeing does not usually do the interiors.  We do a great job of
commercial airplane interior development, but lack that special
something required to do a really high-level VIP interior.  We
can do them, don't get me wrong, but the third party companies
can do a much plusher job for less money.  I know, I've seen photos
of both, and if I were King of Siam, I'd buy third party stuff.
Especially once I saw the price Boeing would have to charge
just to break even on the job.  (But then if you are concerned
about how much it costs, then maybe you can't afford it.) :-)

The 757 and the 737 are becoming increasingly popular as State
VIP aircraft because of the lower cost of acquisition and 
operation.  The status of owning a 747 apparently isn't compensation
enough for the increased costs in these budgetarily difficult
times.  The better field performance of the twins are advantageous
when flying out of those high-hot airports so common in South
America (La Paz, Bogata, etc).  I don't have any numbers to support
this, but I'd guess that the 767 is also experiencing a relative
surge in VIP sales.

VIP sales are rare.  Not very many airplanes are needed in this
role, certainly not in the larger sizes.  Another personal opinion 
here, but I'd guess that the major airframers don't like to do
VIP airplanes because it disrupts the factory (it really does,
you'd have to work there to really understand why).  This leads
to airframers not really pursuing VIP sales except during cyclic
downturns.  Like now.  :-)

I have gotten a chance to work a couple of VIP sales campaigns,
and I can tell you from experience that they are way different
from a regular commercial sales effort (not more or less, just
different emphasis).

One last thing:  I love this business!  You guys get out there and
buy more tickets so my customers can make a buck and buy more
airplanes!  Thanks in advance.  :-)

"Anyone who thinks they can hold the company responsible for what I say has
more lawyers than sense."