Bombardier Sells Flexjet Fractional Business

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Bombardier has sold its Flexjet fractional business to U.S. private equity firm Directional Aviation Capital in a deal that could reap the Canadian bizjet maker up to $5.2 billion in orders. Bombardier sold Flexjet, which currently operates 79 mostly high-end aircraft, for $185 million. But the deal comes with a firm order for 85 aircraft worth $1.8 billion and options for 160 more to bring the total potential to $5.2 billion. Directional CEO Ken Ricci said growth will flow from the fundamentals Flexjet has already established. “Flexjet is an extremely well-run, profitable business known for its unmatched focus on owner and operational experience,” said Ricci. “There is tremendous opportunity for a bespoke brand in the private travel market and Flexjet, with its enhanced fleet, is uniquely suited to fill that void.” 

The market liked the announcement and Bombardier shares went up 5 percent. Meanwhile, the company has obtained permission from Transport Canada to begin flying the test article of its CSeries single-aisle airliner. The aircraft has been under development for about six years and is about a year behind schedule for its first flight. Bombardier says the fly-by-wire CSeries will be up to 30 percent more cost-efficient than comparable existing small airliners. It might fly by Sept. 17.