October 22, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
In September, Bombardier announced that its Flexjet fractional ownership division made a historic firm order for 245 Bombardier business jets. That number included 25 Learjet 75s, 30 Learjet 85s, 20 Challenger 350s, and 10 Challenger 605s, plus options for 160 more Bombardier jets.
Today, Flexjet converted 30 Learjet 85 options into firm orders, giving the company 60 firm orders for Learjet 85s. This brings the total worth of the Learjet 85 purchases to $2.4 billion. Now Flexjet’s total firm orders have hit the 115-airplane mark, with 150 more options to buy. If all the options are exercised, the total value of the deal would be approximately $5.6 billion.
Since September, Flexjet has been purchased by Directional Aviation Capital, an exclusive operator of Bombardier business jets. And now the new owner has been investigating a new, six-seat interior configuration for its Lear 75 airplanes it calls the L75LXI. The idea is to give customers more interior space and a more modern look in terms of interior finishings and color schemes.
First flight of the 3,000-nautical-mile, Mach 0.82, all-composite Learjet 85 is expected by the end of 2013.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
Time is running out for potential tailwheel pilots to bid on a package of tailwheel training at Lakeland, Florida-based Tailwheels Etc.—including two hours in a 1940 Stearman Kaydet biplane—in this year’s AOPA Foundation online auction.
The quiet exit of two companies from the fractional aircraft market provides further evidence that this is an uncertain path to profit.
Dassault Aviation on Dec. 17 rolled out the first of its new line of ultra-long-range business jets—the Falcon 8X.
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