Private jet charter company VistaJet has placed an order for 40 Bombardier planes, it announced this morning at the Paris Air Show.
The transaction consists of 20 firm orders and 20 options for the Challenger 350, a super midsize jet that can fly eight passengers more than 3,600 miles on a full tank.
VistaJet buys its own planes and offers seats to its customers for hourly rates, then sells the jets before their warranties are up.
The Challenger order comes on the heels of a much larger purchase in November, when VistaJet placed a firm demand for 56 Bombardier Global jets, worth $3.1 billion. That was the largest single transaction in business aviation history.
Of the 20 (or 40) new Challengers, 40% will be used to replace older jets VistaJet plans to sell. The rest represent a growth of its fleet, which is currently at 37 planes. Business is very good for VistaJet, founder and chairman Thomas Flohr said in an interview in Paris today.
The private jet market has been weak since 2008, but the fact that fewer people are buying their own planes works to VistaJet’s advantage.
“A lot of people learned the lesson that owning is an aeroplane is not like owning a car,” Flohr said. For people who fly under 400 hours a year, “it makes absolutely no financial sense to own an aeroplane.” That kind of traveller is the ideal VistaJet client.
The company does not disclose many price figures, but a representative told us, “A flight between London and Moscow is roughly equivalent to burning through four Hermes handbags.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, a flight costs $15,000 per hour.
The interiors of the VistaJet Challenger 350s will be modelled after the company’s Global jets, on a smaller scale. There is a jump seat for the Cabin Hostess, so passengers can enjoy privacy, and the jets will be equipped with Wi-Fi.
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