Bombardier to sell up to 245 aircraft to Flexjet

Canada's Bombardier announced Thursday it was selling its hire jet service Flexjet and that the new owners had agreed to buy as many as 245 new aircraft from it.

Bombardier is selling Flexjet to private investment house Directional Aviation Capital for $185 million.

At the same time, Directional announced a firm order for 85 new business aircraft for Flexjet, worth $1.8 billion at list prices, and potentially 245 aircraft, worth $5.2 billion.

The initial 85 aircraft will include Bombardier's Challenger 350, Challenger 605 and Learjet 75 jets, as well as the coming Learjet 85.

"The sale of Flexjet's activities is a unique business opportunity that will allow Bombardier to focus on its core business areas," said Bombardier president and chief executive Pierre Beaudoin.

"This order is another very important endorsement for our Learjet and Challenger business jets," he added.

Direct Aviation, a private investment group, is adding Flextjet's executive jet services -- which include charters, prepaid "jet card" flight deals, and fractional jet ownership -- to its existing brands for private air travel, including Flight Options and Sentient Jet.

Together, it said, the businesses operate over 150 aircraft serving 6,000 customers and bring in $1.1 billion in annual revenues.

"Our vision for Flexjet is of a luxury brand with a young fleet, the latest technology, hand-crafted interiors and an unmatched owner experience," said Kenn Ricci, a principal with Directional Aviation Capital.

"That vision inspired this transaction and this historic order with Bombardier whose product line is uniquely suited to the needs of Flexjet's current and future customers," he said in a statement.