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Introducing the Businessliners

Ringed to the west by mountains- neighbored by another vast nation to the north and hemmed by the vast expanses of the Pacific to the east- accessing a world hungry for China’s products can present formidable challenges. Thus transportation - particularly in vehicles providing the volume and comfort that facilitates long-distance travel - is needed. Enter the ‘Businessliner’.

Dave Higdon   |   1st September 2011
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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The machines that offer limitless access for China’s embrace of the airways

Ringed to the west by mountains- neighbored by another vast nation to the north and hemmed by the vast expanses of the Pacific to the east- accessing a world hungry for China’s products can present formidable challenges. Thus transportation - particularly in vehicles providing the volume and comfort that facilitates long-distance travel - is needed. Enter the ‘Businessliner’.

China’s international entrepreneurs tend to look at utilizing the largest aircraft that Business Aviation has to offer - and there are none as large as the Businessliner. This class of business aircraft provides the time-saving advantages of Business Aviation while also offering ample interior volume for a productive- highly comfortable cabin- thereby featuring a level of convenience unmatched by any other mode of travel.

The Businessliner category incorporates a group of aircraft that were initially developed for commercial airline use. In the early 1990s- Boeing recognized a niche in the Business Aviation marketplace and modified one of its commercial models- the B737- for corporate-specific use. The resulting product was the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ).

Airbus soon followed with its ACJ model – also adapted from one of its commercial airliner designs. Such was the demand that in the years following- a wide range of models from each manufacturer entered the market- today offering an enormous variety to those interested in the benefits of Business Aviation.

Solving the Time/Distance Equation

So what led to the unprecedented growth of the Businessliner market? Only in recent years has private aviation become a viable factor in bridging the vast distances and reducing the many travel hours (or even days) characteristic of trips that once provided a real challenge.

Overcoming China’s vast distances and difficult terrain is a story that is thousands of years old. Centuries were spent carving roads and then building highways to bind together the nation’s regions. Even today- moving between China’s growing cities can often present challenges- consuming much time if attempted by any other mode of transport than air travel.

Internal highways and dynamically busy seaports all speak of China’s ability to overcome transportation challenges. Yet if distances within China seem a challenge to fast- efficient movement for entrepreneurs- distances between China and her trading partners can be far more daunting.

Only aviation can efficiently surmount both the vast distances across challenging landscapes and the time factors that previously constrained industrial and business growth. Essentially- the sky serves as China’s ultimate highway- and China’s commitment to expand its airport numbers and capabilities underpin a drive to further expand the nation’s business with the rest of the world.

Vaulting Barriers- Vanquishing Distances

To visit Saint Petersburg in Russia from Wuhan (Hubei)- the traveling businessman will cover 6-780km. Beijing to London spans a distance of 8-137km. Connecting Shanghai and Buenos Aires- meanwhile covers more than 19-600km (by comparison- Beijing to Chicago is a ‘mere’ 10-600km).

Even at the speeds of today’s quickest civil aviation jets - about 1-000 kilometers per hour - traveling these vast distances requires an investment of considerable time (more than 13 hours between Beijing and London).

By using Businessliners- China’s forward-thinking entrepreneurs and industrialists enjoy access to modern tools of transportation created specifically to meet such challenges as trips up to 15 hours in duration. This is long enough to connect any place in China with 70 percent of the rest of the world non-stop- while the cabin of a Businessliner is large enough for the entrepreneur to spend large amounts of time away from home and take their family with them if desired.

These giants of Business Aviation travel provide the space for China’s busiest business people (and their family) to travel in comfort- while all necessary staff can remain productive en route thanks to the logistics support of the aircraft’s full suite of office and communications equipment.

The Businessliners offer space for sleeping accommodation- wash facilities- dining facilities- and entertainment areas for relaxation as well as office space- thereby combining the prefect blend for productivity and relaxation on a long business journey. The result: far from the home office the businessman or businesswoman arrives rested- refreshed and ready to do business.


The Businessliners examined over the following pages straddle an evolutionary line. As noted- all are aircraft originally conceived- built and sold for mass movement of people or goods as commercial airliners- but thanks to the innovative attitude of the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) a small number of airliners each year are developed as business aircraft and built by the OEMs – with some adaptations – before being outfitted for executive travel and converted into corporate aircraft with both the business and aviation capabilities demanded by today’s fast-paced business clientele.

The repurposing of a commercial airline model into a business aircraft also allows for performance improvements and business capabilities far beyond those offered by the common airliner- or even most purpose-built business jets.

Businessliner Basics

Businessliners are available from Airbus (Europe-based)- Boeing (U.S.-based) and Embraer Brazil-based). These three OEMs offer 14 current models between them that are detailed within our Compare and Review section- with Embraer’s Lineage 1000 the smallest and Airbus’ ACJ380 the largest.

Prepared for their business role and finished by third-party companies- the Businessliners offers their owners an unlimited number of completion choices.

Fitted for the needs of the company or individuals who own them- they can fly with all the same fittings- finishing and tools of the business office suite - including computers- phones- internet and entertainment access via satellites - along with the seating- meeting space- sleep and rest space- and kitchen facilities that fall between the frugal galleys of the airliners and a gourmand food-preparation space. These aircraft truly can be a home from home- while offering all of the functionality of the work-place - all at the same time.

The foundation for this flexibility rests in the floor space and fuel space. As an operating transportation machine these airplanes offer ranges upward of 13-000 kilometers – among the longest in all aviation – flying at speeds around 80 percent of the speed of sound - nearly 1-000 km/h.

Yet- while they certainly offer the most of almost everything- they demand the most- including purchase costs- outfitting costs- operating costs- crew requirements- and - the most limiting factor in their flexibility - runway requirement.

The largest restriction on using these particular business jets is the smaller number of airports available to them relative to the total number of airports in the world. When fueled for their maximum range- Businessliners require runways as long as two kilometers (and longer) in length- and at their maximum weights the larger models face operating limits on a runway’s weight-handling abilities.

The Inevitability of Growth & Change

More than any nation today- China embodies enduring change - and at an accelerating rate. China’s evolving role in world commerce exemplifies that change- as does its rapidly-growing embrace of civil aviation in the service of its industries- and the national commitment to add airports and expand airspace access.

As more Chinese entrepreneurs- businessmen and leaders expand internationally they will need to make sure their reach does not exceed the grasp of their business aircraft.

The Businessliners profiled on the following pages put most of the world within easy reach - and will continue to do so for many years of changing opportunities. They also fit within the needs of connecting China’s vastly diverse regions into a nation accessible in hours- saving days spent traveling using other methods of transport.

It’s a big- changing world all around.

Read more about: Business Aviation in China | Businessliners

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