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VistaJet enters history books with Bombardier aircraft order

Luxury private jet operator and prolific Bombardier aircraft buyer VistaJet has entered the history books having placed the largest-ever single business jet aircraft order - in value terms.

The $7.8 billion deal covers the acquisition of up to 142 Global twinjets. This includes firm orders for 25 Global 5000s, 25 Global 6000s and six Global 8000s - currently in development - as well options for 40 Global 5000s, 40 Global 6000s and six Global 8000s. Deliveries are set to begin in 2014 at a rate of about one aircraft a month.

Fractional ownership company NetJets retains the industry crown for the largest number of aircraft ordered, following the sale in June for up to 275 Challenger 300s and 605s. The world's largest business aircraft operator also has orders and options for up to 120 Global types.

VistaJet says its latest deal should boost its fleet from 31 to about 75 mainly large-cabin, long-range aircraft within ten years. "These new aircraft are a vital part of VistaJet's global growth strategy," says VistaJet founder and chairman Thomas Flohr. "The aircraft will service our new markets in Africa, central Asia, Asia-Pacific, Russia and the Middle East, where customers are looking for new, high-quality, long-range aircraft that can fly them globally in safety and comfort."

Flohr says VistaJet is also seeking to offer intercontinental flights in the USA for clients on the east and west coasts.

The seven-year-old Swiss company operates a fleet of about 30 business jets, each of which are replaced every three to four years - leaving up to 18 months left on the warranty. "With an average age of around two years, we have one of the youngest fleets in the industry," says Flohr.

The company is scheduled to take delivery in 2013 of seven Global 6000's. In 2014, the first of VistaJet's 11 Learjet 85s will join the fleet, followed in 2017 by the first Global 7000/8000s.

Flohr says the new aircraft are funded via cash flow. "VistaJet has achieved a year-on-year flight revenue growth of around 25% [from the start] and we expect 2013 to be another good year," he adds. "Having only three aircraft families in the fleet [Globals, Challengers and Learjets] has driven the cost base down."

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