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Bombardier wins Challenger 300 order
Bombardier wins Challenger 300 order

Bombardier Inc. signed the largest single order yesterday for its Challenger 300 in the aircraft´s history, in a deal worth up to $1.9 billion based on list prices.

California-based XOJET placed a firm order for 20 Challenger 300 jets, with options for an additional 60 aircraft, Bombardier Aerospace said. The deal was signed at the National Business Aviation Association conference in Atlanta, Ga.

The deal for the firm orders is valued at about $450 million based on the list price of comparably equipped aircraft. If all options are exercised, the value of the order would rise to $ 1.9 billion.

Deliveries are to begin in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. The Challenger 300 program was launched in 1999, with the first delivery taking place in 2004.

In 2006, the eight-passenger Challenger 300 business jet captured 42 per cent of the total market share and 56 per cent of deliveries worldwide in the super-midsize segment, Bombardier said. The Challenger has a range of 3,000 nautical miles; it can travel from Seattle to Miami, Bombardier spokesperson Danielle Boudreau said.

XOJET, which describes itself as the world´s fastest-growing private aviation company, specializes in leasing jets and fractional ownership.

"The growth of private aviation is fuelled by a new type of traveller - executives who fly privately more than 100 hours a year," Paul Touw, president and CEO of XOJET, said in a statement.

In addition to the Challenger deal, on Monday, XOJET announced it had placed an order for 30 Cessna Citation X business jets valued at more than $ 600 million U.S. The company already maintains a fleet of 17 Citation X aircraft.

Despite a risk of weakness in the U.S. market, the outlook for the business jet segment remains highly positive, wrote Versant Partners analyst Cameron Doerksen in a note yesterday.

Citing figures from Honeywell´s business aviation outlook, 14,000 new business jets worth $233 billion U.S. are expected to be delivered between 2007 and 2017. In 2008, more than 1,300 jets are expected to be delivered, up from 1,000 jets in 2007 and 861 jets in 2006.

Such a forecast is beneficial to Bombardier, which has recently suffered a spate of critical press over two instances of landing gear failure on Q400 turboprops, Doerksen wrote.

In another piece of good news for Bombardier, 35 of the 85 Q400s grounded after the Scandinavian Airlines incidents are back in service, he wrote.


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