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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc , the world's third-largest civil aircraft maker, said on Tuesday it has won an order for business aircraft worth up to $1.2 billion from Switzerland's VistaJet.

The order, which was announced at an air show in Geneva, is for 35 firm orders with options for an additional 25 aircraft, the Canadian aerospace company said.

If all options are exercised, the total value of the order will be about $1.2 billion, Bombardier said.

"It confirms the popularity of our Challenger 605 and Learjet 60 XR aircraft, and reflects the building excitement around our new Learjet 85 program," Bob Horner, senior vice-president for sales at Bombardier Business Aircraft, said in a statement.

As well, Bombardier said it will sell its charter unit Bombardier Skyjet International to VistaJet. The company said it has signed a memorandum of understanding, but did not provide financial details of the deal.

The acquisition will give VistaJet access to more than 920 chartered business jets around the world, while the aircraft order will effectively triple the size of VistaJet's existing fleet if all options are exercised.

"With the acquisition of Skyjet International, VistaJet will effectively become one of the largest aviation providers in the world," said Horner.

Privately owned VistaJet is headquartered in Switzerland. Its fleet is comprised of more than 30 medium- to long-range jets with an average age of less than two years.

Shares of Montreal-based Bombardier edged up 4 Canadian cents, or 0.5 percent, to C$7.60 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson)

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