PARIS (Reuters) - Dassault Aviation on Tuesday unveiled Europe’s largest business jet order worth $1.1 billion from U.S.-based Netjets, which pioneered the concept of “fractional ownership” of executive aircraft. The order for 24 of the French planemaker’s latest VIP model, the Falcon 7X, is the latest sign of rapid growth in executive jet travel spurred by security and airport congestion.
NetJets Inc., part of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., offers stakes starting at $400,000 which buys the user access to a fleet of business jets of various sizes and ranges.
The company plans to offer the Falcon 7X jets to European executives through its England-based subsidiary, which it describes as the largest operator of business jets in Europe.
The 7X planes – worth $40 million to $45 million each depending on the frills on board – will be delivered between 2008 and 2014.
The order brings to 116 the number of Falcon 7X jets ordered since development was launched at the Paris air show in 2001.
Dassault Aviation shares rose 3.1 percent to 635 euros on Tuesday.
Powered by three Pratt & Whitney engines, the Falcon 7X can carry eight passengers and four crew up to 5,950 nautical miles and is due to enter service in May 2007.
Dassault also builds the Rafale and Mirage combat jets.