Zug firm inks historic Bombardier jet deal
A Swiss company has rocketed to the forefront of the business aviation world after making the biggest single order of Bombardier aircraft in history.
VistaJet, a Zug-based company founded by Thomas Flohr, announced on Tuesday a firm order for 56 jets worth $3.1 billion from the Canadian airplane manufacturer.
The private business jet charter and aircraft management company also placed options on the acquisition of a further 86 Bombardier planes for $4.7 billion.
Not too shabby for a private company that seems to have zoomed out of nowhere since its creation in 2008 from a firm initially founded by Flohr, 52, in 2004.
VistaJet already has 50 planes in its fleet of business jets, but the latest order of long-range aircraft underlines the company’s focus beyond Europe.
“This order is the most significant milestone for VistaJet and is a testimony to our successful strategy that focuses on global coverage,” Flohr said in a statement.
“Earlier in the year we announced landmark agreements with partners in both China and Russia and, since then, the level of demand we have seen in growth markets around the globe has been unprecedented.”
The extra aircraft will help the company service customers who want to travel “point to point across the globe, often at short notice”.
The firm order consists of 25 Bombardier Global 5000 and 25 Global 6000 aircraft, in addition to six Global 8000 planes, with deliveries to start in 2014.
“This is a historic order for Bombardier,” said Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft.
Flohr, VistaJet's chairman, made money in the IT market before investing in private aviation, Tages Anzeiger newspaper reported.
Last year, he appeared for the first time on a list of the 300 wealthiest Swiss with estimated assets of 600 to 700 million dollars.
Even during a period of economic crisis, the private aviation industry appears to be offering rich returns.
A Wall Street Journal report quoted a price of 40,000 euros to use one of VistaJet’s planes to travel from London to Moscow.
Flohr counts Russian oligarchs, Chinese entrepreneurs and Arab oil sheiks, along with “normal businessmen”, among his customers, Tages Anzeiger said.
With its red and silver livery, the company emphasizes luxury and convenience rather than frills-free travel.