Arie Egozi/TEL AVIV

Galaxy Aerospace has reached an agreement in principle with Swiss leasing company ILI Aviation for the purchase of seven Galaxy super mid-size and two Astra SPX mid-size business jets, valued at about $146 million. The deal includes options for another 15 Galaxys and two SPXs which, if exercised, will boost the value to about $450 million.

The sale is the largest and most significant order for Fort Worth, Texas-based Galaxy - a joint venture between Israel Aircraft Industries and the Pritzker family - since the 18-seat Galaxy programme was launched in 1993. The orderbook is believed to exceed 40 aircraft.

The aircraft will launch ILI's charter venture, believed to be a variation of the fractional ownership concept. Although few details are available, industry sources confirm that ILI's "block time charter" concept will offer the customer "more flexibility than fractional ownership, by avoiding fixed five-year agreements and offering more tailored packages".

ILI will operate the aircraft initially from its Zurich base, but is keen to expand its network globally as "business expands".

The first aircraft, a pre-owned SPX, "will be put into service within 60 days of the official contract signing", while the second SPX is lined up for delivery by the end of the year. The $17 million Galaxys, will be delivered to ILI over two years, beginning with the first handover next year.

Galaxy production will increase from one to two a month at year-end, to keep up with demand. Astra SPX production will remain at one a month. Two Galaxys and two SPXs are in completion.

Source: Flight International