For Flexjet the order follows its $1.4 billion deal with Embraer announced earlier today; For Qatar Executive, it’s in addition to its July billion-dollar Gulfstream order
A billion dollars here. A half-billion or so there. It is Las Vegas after all. As the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention kicks off here, Flexjet followed up its morning announcement it is buying $1.4 billion in private jets from Embraer by placing an order to be the North American launch customer for the Gulfstream G700.
(Updated Oct. 23, 2019: Flexjet’s order is for 16 G700s valued at $1.2 billion)
Flexjet’s chairman Kenn Ricci wasn’t the only CEO playing at the high stakes table. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, is buying 10 of the new ultra-long-range, ultra-fast private jets for his Qatar Executive charter division. It follows a billion-dollar order with the Savannah, Georgia-based manufacturer in July.
For Flexjet, the G700 will join Flexjet’s the Gulfstream G650ER, G500, and G450 in its fleet. Earlier this year it eschewed the traditional hours’ based formula for selling fractional shares on its G650s moving to a model based on days.
“The Gulfstream G700, with its speed, range, and versatility, will make an exceptional fractional offering,” said Ricci. “We anticipate that it will be ideally suited for those companies that need occasional access to global markets and will be the pinnacle of our Red Label offering. It will be the fifth large-cabin aircraft type in the fleet as we continue our international expansion.”
Flexjet last week opened a showroom and sales office in London as part of an upcoming push into Europe that will see it offering membership or ownership programs, maybe both. Currently, its fleet there serves U.S. customers flying in the region.
In July Al Baker ordered 18 Gulfstream aircraft during a ceremony at the White House. The billion-dollar deal for 14 Gulfstream G650ERs and four Gulfstream G500s were in addition to its fleet of six G650ER and five G500 aircraft.
“We are excited to be the launch customer of the G700, the largest business jet in the industry, and are looking forward to the aircraft joining our fleet,” said Al Baker, adding, “Qatar Executive’s customers have extremely high standards, and this aircraft will help us meet their requirements by delivering unrivaled performance that complements our excellence in customer service.”
While Qatar Executive is based in Doha, parent Qatar Airways is a key investor in Dallas-based JetSuite, which has said it plans to add a new aircraft type to its fleet of Embraer Phenom 300s and 100s. In addition to offering a jet card program and on-demand full aircraft charter, its sister JSX (formerly JetSuiteX) operates scheduled shuttle flights along the U.S. West Coast using Embraer ERJ 135s and 145s.
Qatar Airways made its investment in Jet Suite after being rebuffed by American Airlines, so it’s not clear if there is a strategic interest in the JetSuite full private jet customer of the JSX by-the-seat model.
“The Gulfstream G700 takes the very best elements from our most innovative products and unites them with cutting-edge advances to create an all-new, advanced-technology aircraft that redefines safety, comfort, and range at speed,” said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream.
He added, “This announcement is the biggest news in business aviation history and is the result of the investments General Dynamics made to develop Gulfstream technology for Gulfstream products. Thanks to our nearly 18,000 employees around the world, the G700 is continuing a long Gulfstream tradition: raising the bar for ourselves and the industry.”
The G700 offers up to five living areas; a galley that includes more than 10 feet of counter space, an extra-large refrigerator and a lounge or crew compartment; a six-place dining or conference table; and a master bedroom with an optional en suite bath with a shower and wardrobe closet. Myriad styling choices for all-new seat designs are also possible on the G700 as well as a three-place sofa certified for takeoff and landing.
Neither Flexjet or Qatar Executive immediately provided details on how they plan to configure their new birds.
The G700 introduces an all-new, Gulfstream-created lighting system that can mimic sunrise and sunset to help passengers acclimate across continents and time zones.
The G700 can fly 7,500 nautical miles at Mach 0.85 or 6,400 nm at Mach 0.90.
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