Bombardier has completed the sale of its Flexjet fractional ownership programme to US private investment company Directional Aviation Capital for around $195 million.
The handover marks the Canadian airframer’s exit from the operations end of the business aviation sector 18 years after it founded Flexjet as a platform to promote and sell its growing business jet family.
Flexjet is one of the three leading fractional companies, along with market leader NetJets – owned by Berkshire Hathaway – and Flight Options, also owned by DAC. Company founder and principal Kenn Ricci says both companies will continue to operate as separate entities.
Cleveland, Ohio-based Flight Options – with its fleet of pre-owned jets and expanding fleet of light cabin Embraer Phenom 300s – will appeal to customers wanting a low-cost, entry-level fractional ownership product, he argues.
Meanwhile Flexjet, which operates an 80-strong all Bombardier fleet, is positioned as its top-end fractional offering. The Richardson, Texas-based company also has orders and options for a further 265 Bombardier twinjets – including a $2.4 billion firm order for 25 super-light Learjet 75s, 60 midsize Learjet 85s, 20 super-midsize Challenger 350s and 10 large cabin Challenger 605s.
Ricci – who also owns jet charter card pioneer Sentient Jet and aircraft remanufacturing specialist Nextant Aerospace – has his eye on global expansion for the Flexjet programme. He plans to initially service demand for international travel from Flexjet's existing customer base, and is looking to acquire ultra-long-range types, not necessarily from the Bombardier stable, to satisfy their requirements.