Who just ordered 12 Bombardier Challenger 3500 private jets?

NetJets, Flexjet, VistaJet, and Airshare are all volume buyers of the Challenger 3500 series, including the Challenger 350 and 300.

By Doug Gollan, December 24, 2023

A mystery customer has placed a firm order with Bombardier for a dozen Challenger 3500 private jets.

The 3500 is the updated version of the Challenger 350 and Challenger 300.

The order is valued at $326.4 million based on list prices.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second half of 2025.

“Bombardier is proud that the Challenger 3500 jet sparks such confidence as the aircraft of choice for a vast majority of operators around the world and continues to meet and exceed the expectations of its discerning clientele,” said Éric Martel, President and CEO of Bombardier.

In the press release, he added, “The Challenger 3500 jet is truly a force to be reckoned with, and this order is a clear demonstration that this platform offers the exceptional experience that clients are seeking.”

Guessing game

Several fleet operators who are volume buyers already feature the Canadian OEM’s popular super-midsize jet.

NetJets, Flexjet, VistaJet, and Airshare all feature various versions of the aircraft type in their operations.


In August, Airshare announced it would take up 20 additional Challenger 3500s with four firm orders and 16 options.

That would give it 40 of the type if all the options are taken.

A spokesperson for the Kansas City-based provider said the Bombardier announcement was not related to their options.


As recently as October, Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci has said he plans to order more aircraft.

At the time, Flexjet had 86 Challenger super mids.

It also has 56 of Embraer’s long-range midsize Praetor 500s, an update of the Legacy 450, and a further 17 super-midsize Praetor 600s.

A Flexjet spokesperson responded after we posted this to say it wasn’t them.


In April 2021, VistaJet revealed itself as the customer of a similar announcement from December 2020.

Since then, Vista Global bought Jet Edge and Air Hamburg and continues to refurbish those fleets to its VistaJet standard.

A VistaJet spokesperson said he was unaware of Friday’s announcement.


As of December, NetJets had 87 Challenger 350s in its fleet, according to the company.

This year, the world’s largest private jet operator has announced its intention to add up to 250 of Embraer’s Praetor 500 long-range midsize jets.

It also said it would add up to 1,500 private jets from Textron, including its super-midsize Latitude and Longitude.

NetJets Challenger fleet comes from a 2012 order with 75 firm orders and 125 additional options.

Other possibilities

PlaneSense, the third-largest fractional after NetJets and Flexjet, said it would expand its PSA for the Pilatus PC-24 light jet in 2024 nationally following its PC-12 program.

“(Adding a larger type is) something we always look at and study,” CEO and Founder George Antoniadis told us back in June.

However, Antoniadis said the Challenger 3500 order wasn’t from him.

Asked about new aircraft orders during an interview at NBAA, Wheels Up CEO George Mattson said, “We’re looking at all options for how to grow the fleet. We’re meeting with folks while we’re here.”

Delta Air Lines ordered 75 of what is now known as the Airbus A220 in 2016. At that point, it was Bombardier’s project.

Mattson was on the Delta board of directors at the time.

However, he noted, “When and how will be dictated obviously by our rate of progress and performance against the plan that we’ve got in front of us right now.”

While it now has the backing of Delta Air Lines and Certares, Wheels Up was still losing money as of its Q3 financial results.

Thrive Aviation, which is among the 20 largest U.S. operators based on charter/fractional flight hours, has been a buyer of new aircraft, although so far, it has favored Textron.

Its CEO, Curtis Edenfeld, emailed to say, “That wasn’t us.”

International Players

The order could also be from a start-up or an international player.

Qatar Executive operates a fleet of ultra-long-haul Gulfstream G650s.

The Challengers are well-sized for missions within the Middle East, to India, Northern and Central Africa, and Southern and Eastern Europe.

It appointed Badr Mohammed Al-Meer as CEO of the parent group in October.

He was formerly the COO of Doha’s airport, part of the group.

From our research, we couldn’t find any comments from him about an interest in expanding the private jet division.

However, he is continuing the airline’s aggressive global growth.

China’s Amber Aviation has been expanding with an investment from NetJets, which includes up to 20 aircraft exiting its fleet.

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