High-end charter company VistaJet expects to take its final seven of 17 Bombardier Global 7500s on order by year-end, making it the largest operator of the 7,700-nm business jet. To date, the Dubai-headquartered company has taken delivery of 10 Global 7500s and plans to accept seven more units before the end of the fourth quarter.
Three Challenger 350s are also set to join VistaJet’s line-up over the same period, boosting its super-midsize fleet to 27 aircraft. It's fleet of 88 airplanes also includes 10 Challenger 605s, six Challenger 850s, seven Global 5000s, and 29 Global 6000s.
Ian Moore, VistaJet’s chief commercial officer, said that once the Challenger 350s and Global 7500s are delivered this year, there are no more outstanding orders. But the company is apparently eying Bombardier’s new flagship—the Global 8000, which was launched last month at EBACE and scheduled to enter service in 2025.
However, Moore was tight-lipped if a fresh order for the 8,000-nm, Mach 0.94 Global 8000 will be forthcoming. “All I can say is, watch this space,” he said.
“There is ramp envy in this market, and we need to ensure that we are staying up to date with the latest aircraft,” Moore continued. “Some of our customers will also value the 8000’s extra speed and range,” he said.
A possibility for VistaJet would be to upgrade its Global 7500 fleet to the 8000 specifications, noted Moore. “It will cost around $3 million for each aircraft, but it is definitely a consideration.”
To turn 7500s into its newer, longer-range stablemate, Bombardier said changes are needed to the control software for the GE Passport engine and tweaks enabling more fuel to be carried. The certification framework for the modification will be available following service entry of the Global 8000, and will be issued via a service bulletin, the Canadian airframer added.
For VistaJet, long-haul routes are increasingly popular among its international clients. “Our customers are flying for longer, with a 15-hour flight from the Caribbean to Africa, the furthest we have flown to date,” said Moore. VistaJet’s offering consists of a dedicated VIP hours-based block charter program and an on-demand service, which accounts for 35 percent of its new business, according to Moore.
To help expand its ad hoc charter offering, VistaJet parent company Vista Global Holding has so far acquired three notable operators—XOJET and Jet Edge in the U.S., and Germany’s Air Hamburg—which have a combined fleet of 180 business jets ranging in size from the Cessna Citation CJ3 light twin to the Embraer Lineage 1000E bizliner.
“There is a lot of potential in the on-demand market, and we are expanding the fleet to accommodate this growth,” said Moore. “In time we expect to see the ratio of program to on-demand business switch from 70/30—as it is today—to 60/40,” he added.