Skyjet International gets new owner

 - June 2, 2008, 7:06 AM

Bombardier’s Skyjet International executive aircraft charter program will be in safe hands with proposed new Swiss owner VistaJet, according to the Canadian aircraft manufacturer. Bob Horner, Bombardier’s senior v-p for sales, told AIN that the proposed sale would provide a solid base for VistaJet and for operators of the aircraft involved.

Having confirmed plans for fleet expansion and a southeast Asia office before EBACE opened, VistaJet completed the picture later in the show with announcement of an order for 35 Bombardier business jets. In a purchase plan potentially worth a claimed $1.2 billion and representing Bombardier Business Aircraft’s largest-ever single order, the Swiss company is to buy 11 Challenger 605s, 13 Learjet 60XRs and 11 Learjet 85s; it also has taken options on a further 10 Challenger 605s, seven more 60XRs and an additional eight 85s. If confirmed, the business would see the VistaJet fleet expand from 14 aircraft to 34 (after the delivery of 20 previously ordered aircraft) to 94 machines by 2012. Horner said the deals proved VistaJet is “offering the most innovative aircraft and widest range of travel ‘solutions.’”

For VistaJet chairman Thomas Flohr, the latest agreements are “in line with our global expansion plan to lead this industry, coupling pure luxury with affordability. With Skyjet [International] and VistaJet joining forces, we aim to become the leading company in Europe, [the] Middle East and Asia.” He dubbed the deal “a milestone in the history of business aviation.”

The acquisition of Skyjet International, which replaced Bombardier’s previous Jet Membership (neé Flexjet Europe) fractional-ownership program, will enable VistaJet to offer more than 920 aircraft worldwide. VistaJet has been part of the Skyjet International network since 2005 and recently has predicted a 50-percent revenue increase for this year. It expects the near-100-strong fleet to fly about 80,000 hours per year in 2012.