UPDATE 2-Gulfstream launches two new jets, signs deals with Flexjet, Qatar Airways

Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:59pm EDT
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(Adds analysis and details about price and buyers; closing stock price)

By Ankit Ajmera

Oct 14 (Reuters) - Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, a unit of General Dynamics Corp, launched two new business jets on Tuesday, the G500 and G600, with orders of up to 70 aircraft from Flexjet LLC and Qatar Airways.

The new planes, available in 2018 and 2019, respectively, feather into Gulfstream's product line at the large end of the business-jet market, fitting between its G450 and G650 models and adding competition for Bombardier Inc and Dassault Aviation.

The announcement did not include orders for the G600 jet, and Gulfstream left unclear how many of the 70 jets are firm orders as opposed to options.

The new jets are likely to draw customers wanting the "panache" of the latest plane but in a jet tailored to the most popular routes, said Jeff Trance, a senior vice president at charter company Air Partner PLC.

"These aircraft are made to link specific cities" more efficiently, and "still give passengers the same amenities" of current Gulfstream jets, he said.

Dallas-based Flexjet, a fractional jet ownership and leasing company, will order up to 50 aircraft, including the 16-seat G450, the new G500 and the flagship G650, Gulfstream said.

Qatar Airways, the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar, will order up to 20, including the G500 and the G650ER for its Qatar Executive charter service.   Continued...