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Bombardier luxury jet deal soars

Bombardier Inc. won the biggest business jet deal in its history with luxury air charter company VistaJet Holding SA, exceeding a transaction five months ago with billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett’s plane-leasing unit.

VistaJet ordered 56 Global series aircraft and took options for 86 more as it taps Asian demand. The deal has a value of $3.1 billion, which would rise to $7.8 billion should all the planes be taken, Montreal-based Bombardier said Tuesday in a statement. Bombardier shares gained the most in about a year.

The business jet agreement marks a second significant win for Bombardier, which in June reached a $7.3 billion agreement for as many as 275 of its Challenger aircraft with the NetJets unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Purchases of private aircraft had languished amid a recession and the global financial crisis that intensified in late 2008.

“These orders reinforce the outlook for solid growth in production rates in the large cabin business aircraft segment over the next several years,” said Fadi Chamoun, a BMO Capital Markets analyst in Toronto.

The sizable cabins on Global series planes make them well-suited to demand in China, where the emphasis is on high-status models, as well as promising markets including Indonesia, said Paul Sheridan, head of Asian consulting at aviation advisory firm Ascend Worldwide Ltd.

VistaJet’s order comprises 25 Global 5000 planes, which can seat 20 people and connect San Francisco with Seoul, South Korea; 25 Global 6000s seating eight and able to fly from London to Tokyo; and six Global 8000s that can also carry eight and travel 7,900 nautical miles to link New York with Hong Kong. The options are for 40 each of the 5000 and 6000, plus six 8000s.

Deliveries are to begin in January 2014 and unfold at a rate of one per month for 10 years.

Bombardier sees demand for 24,000 business jets during the next two decades, with 45 percent of sales falling into the Global family segment, Steve Ridolfi, president of the company’s business aircraft unit, said at a news briefing in London.

The Global 5000 carries a catalog price of $48.6 million, while the 6000 is listed at $58.5 million and the 8000 at $66.3 million, Bombardier said.