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Flight Options' new owner buys 100 fractional Embraer Phenoms

US fractional-ownership provider Flight Options has placed an order for 100 Embraer Phenom 300 light business jets, plus options for 50 more, in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.

The order is Embraer's largest yet for the Phenom family, worth $746 million at list price for the 100 aircraft and increasing to $1.12 billion if all options are exercised. An additional maintenance and support agreement is valued at more than $200 million.

The order was finalised when Miami-based private-equity firm HIG Capital completed its purchase of Flight Options from Raytheon. Terms have not been disclosed, but Raytheon expects a fourth-quarter charge of $45 million to write down the net assets of Flight Options consistent with the final sales price.

                                                                                                              © Embraer

Cleveland, Ohio-based Flight Options has the second-largest fractional fleet in the USA, with around 140 Hawker 400XPs, Hawker 800XPs, Cessna Citation Xs and Embraer Legacy 600s. Deliveries of the Phenom 300 will begin in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Flight Options began operations in 1998, and merged with Raytheon Aircraft's Travel Air fractional-ownership business in 2002. In late 2005 Raytheon took over full ownership of the financially struggling operator. In early 2007, when defence giant Raytheon sold its aircraft unit to private-equity firms Onex and Goldman Sachs for $3.3 billion, it held on to the fractional business, announcing its sale to HIG in October.

Embraer has already announced several Phenom sales to US fractional operators, including orders and options for 20 Phenom 100 very-light jets and four Phenom 300s from Kansas City-based Executive AirShare. In October 2006, Orlando-based fractional provider Avantair ordered 20 Phenom 100s to add to its fleet of Piaggio Avantis.

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