Twice a BBJ : Boeing Business Jet

In aviation circles, BBJ stands for Boeing Business Jet. One of several that come to Geneva is even registered as VP-BBJ, a Bahamas registration, and it has a connection with Geneva.

VP-BBJ is a Boeing 737-700 aircraft, which is a medium size aircraft normally seating around 125-150 passengers. However, as indicated in wikia, the special wiki site for aircraft

The Boeing Business Jet series are factory conversions of Boeing airliners for the corporate jet market, initially the 737 series airliners. This aircraft usually seats between 25 and 50 passengers within a luxurious configuration. This may include a master bedroom, a washroom with shower(s), a conference/dining area, and a living area. The Boeing Business Jet is a 50/50 partnership between Boeing Commercial Airplanes and General Electric.

VP-BBJ is interesting because the owner, by luck or by money, managed to register it in the Bahamas, where aircraft registrations are of the form VP-Bxx, with this registration which matches its type. It left Geneva last Monday, 21 May, on a heading that suggested that it was bound for North America, apparently after a long stay here: it was seen arriving here on 30 March. These facts maded me curious enough to dig for facts on the Web.

The owner of the jet appears to be a company called Picton II Ltd., registered in the UK. It was quite difficult to find any information on the company, but finally I tracked down a page in LinkedIn (where there is a group especially for BBJ owners and operators). This named a person called William Christophe as being the aviation manager of Picton II Ltd since 1988, and being somewhere in the Geneva area. Previous to that, he was for 10 years a flight captain with Dubai Air Wing.

A few further enquiries elicited the information that Picton has only this aircraft. Do they hire it out? Was it in Geneva for any particular reason?

Separate enquiries on other BBJ jets found a page on a different forum where a member listed very many BBJ aircraft. This suggested that although quite a few BBJs are owned by big companies whose CEO wants an easy way to travel, charter companies also own some. However, the majority of BBJs are owned by governments and used to shuttle their ministers and dignitaries around. At Geneva we have seen several quite frequently, including some of the Saudi Royal Flight and one of the Moroccan Government.

I am pretty sure that the Swiss Government does not have one!

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