(Bloomberg News) NetJets Inc., the business-jet operator owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said it placed a record order for as many as 120 Bombardier Inc. planes in anticipation of a rebound in luxury travel.
The agreement, worth more than $6.7 billion at list prices, comprises 50 firm orders and 70 options, according to a statement. How much Columbus, Ohio-based NetJets would pay for the aircraft, which will be delivered starting in the fourth quarter of 2012, wasn't disclosed.
NetJets, which also ordered 125 Embraer SA jets in October, said it expects the planes' arrival to help meet increasing demand following what will probably be a "difficult" 2011. The unit made a profit last year after David Sokol, named by Buffett to lead a turnaround in 2009, fired staff and wrote down plane values.
"NetJets is probably positioning themselves for a pickup in demand next year," said Julius Yeo, a Singapore-based aerospace consultant at Frost & Sullivan Inc. "The business-jet market in the U.S. still hasn't really picked up yet."
The firm orders include 30 of Montreal-based Bombardier's Global 5000 Vision and Global Express XRS Vision aircraft, which will be delivered starting next year. The deal also includes 20 firm orders for Bombardier's new Global 7000 and Global 8000 jets, which will be handed over starting in 2017.
"Although we anticipate 2011 to be another difficult year, when Bombardier begins to make deliveries of these aircraft, we will be ready to satisfy the market's demand," Sokol said in the statement.
Bombardier climbed 52 cents, or 8.5%, to C$6.66 at 10:05 a.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading. The shares have gained 33% this year.
Class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway, which also has units running railroads, offering insurance and making consumer goods, climbed $195.99 to $128,246 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.
NetJets has a fleet of more than 800 business jets, including ones made by Dassault Aviation SA, Textron Inc.'s Cessna Aircraft Co. and General Dynamics Co.'s Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., according to the statement. The company operates a fractional-ownership model that lets customers buy flight-hours across a fleet of jets.