VistaJet is continuing its rapid growth with another major order for business jets, this time a 20-aircraft deal valued at $518 million that further entrenches the European carrier as one of Bombardier’s biggest business jet customers.
The order was one of two that Bombardier announced during this week’s Paris air show. The second, from an undisclosed customer, was for 12 Global 8000 aircraft valued at $804 million.
The newest order for VistaJet’s all-Bombardier fleet is for the Challenger 350 super midsized jet, and includes options for 20 more aircraft that could push the total value to more than $1 billion. Deliveries of the 350 are slated to begin in mid-2014.
The order is the second major deal for Bombardier’s newest Challenger. The company took the wraps off its new 350 last month at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva as it announced a potential 200-aircraft deal with fractional ownership provider NetJets.
Bombardier and NetJets collaborated on some of the enhancements in the 350, which include a strengthened wing, more span, canted winglets andHTF7350 turbofans with 7.3% more takeoff thrust. The aircraft has more payload capability and improved climb performance.
VistaJet also served on a focus group that helped lead to the development of the new aircraft, says founder and Chairman Thomas Flohr, adding the addition of the 350 is expanding on its strategy to have the most modern fleet of large-cabin jets.
The VistaJet order follows the announcement in December that it plans to order up to 142 Bombardier Global jets valued at $7.8 billion. The deal includes firm orders for 56 jets valued at $3.1 billion and options for another 86, making it one of the largest business jet contracts ever announced and the largest for Bombardier.
The Global deal had increased VistaJet’s firm backlog of Bombardier aircraft to about $5 billion, as it worked to expand its network globally with partnerships in both China and Russia and plans to further its presence in the Middle East, Africa and the U.S. The order also comes as VistaJet works to keep its average fleet age at less than two years, among the youngest in the industry.
VistaJet, which had two dozen aircraft in its fleet in 2011, had accepted its 50th by late last year. The carrier flies or has orders for a spectrum of Bombardier, Challenger and Global aircraft.
“Our Think Global strategy and commitment to provide point-to-point global coverage includes providing the best aircraft option for our customers’ intercontinental and transcontinental travel needs, always with guaranteed availability,” Flohr says.
The VistaJet Challenger 350 will be equipped with a jump seat for the cabin hostess, a cabin divider and the latest cabin management system technologies.
For Bombardier, the VistaJet Challenger 350 and Global 8000 orders add more than $1.3 billion to the company’s expanding order book – one of the few among the business jet manufacturers that is growing. Bombardier’s Aerospace backlog in 2012 jumped 38% to $32.9 billion as net orders for its business aircraft almost doubled to 392. Of those, 156 orders came from VistaJet and NetJets in 2012. NetJets this year is further adding to the order book with last month’s contracting including 75 firm orders for the Challenger 350 and options for 125 more. That contract has a total potential value of $5.4 billion.